Dhaka city braces for Aedes mosquito menace after rains

Publish: 8:14 PM, April 21, 2022 | Update: 8:14 PM, April 21, 2022

The density of Aedes mosquitoes in the capital Dhaka is more than the previous year which may increase further during the upcoming monsoon leading to a spread of dengue.

Researchers at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) feared that rainfall in the city may be followed by an alarming rise in mosquitoes-borne diseases like dengue and malaria.

An outbreak of dengue fever last year claimed 105 lives and sent 28,429  patients to hospital, most of them in the capital city, according to DGHS

National Malaria Elimination and Aedes Transmission Disease Control Programme of DGHS, has found the dire situation in a recent survey. The 10-day entomological survey was conducted at 100 sites of 98 wards under Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).

According to the DGHS, a 21-member team visited around 3,000 houses under the city corporations to complete the survey. It found Aedes mosquito’s larvae in 150 houses which is 4.25 percent of the total figure.

Another team of the National Malaria Elimination and Aedes Transmission Disease Control Programme is also working to catch mosquitoes to identify the number of mosquito species living in Dhaka and other microbes.

The DGHS said it will complete Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping by the density of mosquitoes after conducting research by the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) to know the region-based density of the deadly insect in Dhaka.

DGHS suggested that two city corporations in Dhaka should operate special drives right now to control mosquitoes and curb the mosquito menace for the people. City dwellers should also be involved in the drives, it added.

City corporation sources said Bashundhara, Badda, Bhatara, Kuril, Mirpur, Agargaon, Shyamoli, Banasri, Jatrabari, Matuail, Rampura, Khilgaon, Malibagh, Dhanmondi, and many parts of old Dhaka are the hotspots of mosquito breeding.

Abul Kalam Azad, a resident of Bashundhara Residential Area, alleged that the city corporation hardly sprays larvicide and adulticide in the Bashundhara area though mosquitoes are everywhere throughout the year.

“Our children cannot study properly in the evening because of mosquitoes. We use mosquito nets and coils to get rid of the mosquito nuisance,” he said.

Mainul Hossain, a resident of Mirpur said, the city corporation sprays pesticides occasionally which are not adequate to curb mosquito breeding. City corporations should take more effective measures on the matter, he added.

Talking in a similar tone, Shafiqul Islam, a resident of Jatrabari under Dhaka South City Corporation said, “Mosquito’s other name is panic in the evening. We use aerosol and coil daily. But these do not work in the face of mosquito invasion. How long do we struggle against mosquitoes? Spray by the city corporation is nothing but a waste.”

He also feared dengue fever caused by the Aedes aegypti.

Contacted, Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operative (LGRD) Minister Md Tazul Islam told UNB that his ministry will instruct the two city corporations to operate cleaning drives and spray pesticides in the mosquito-prone areas though mosquitoes are relatively low now.

He said two city corporations have to be aware of water stagnation in the upcoming monsoon. They (two city corporations) have to launch a special mass awareness programme to keep the houses and yards clean.

The minister said under-construction and abandoned buildings in the city are the breeding grounds of mosquitoes.

Punitive actions will be imposed as per the law against owners of buildings if Aedes mosquito larvae are found in any public or private buildings in the capital, he warned.

“We have already instructed two city corporations about the matter. The necessary number of magistrates will be posted to conduct pesticides, fogging machines, and mobile courts. We hope mosquito elimination will be possible if our drive continues.”

Atiqul Islam, Mayor of DNCC, told UNB that it has already started work to curb mosquito breeding by identifying mosquito hotspots under the corporation.

“We have taken a work plan targeting the upcoming rainy season. None will be spared if mosquito larvae are found in the houses and offices. We are on hardline. Citizens will also have to cooperate with the corporation to control mosquito menace in the capital.”

DSCC Mayor Fazle Noor Taposh said, “We emphasize stopping mosquito breeding during the rainy season. We have formed a separate team in every ward to curb mosquitoes. Once again, a mobile court will be conducted to bring the situation under control. Besides, we will increase the monitoring system in each and every ward in the city.”