Friday Oct 7, 2022
Friday Oct 7, 2022

Dengue outbreak worsens in Kathmandu Valley

Daily increase in the number of dengue patients in the valley is giving rise to a chaotic situation in public health.

2022 Sep 12, 6:44, Kathmandu
The dengue virus has spread in almost all districts of Nepal, increasing the risk of getting infected by it day by day. With thousands of cases detected and people dying in hospitals, the dengue virus has become the main focus of the country’s health system.

With that, the Kathmandu Valley is now seeing massive transmission of the virus. Hospitals are being filled with just dengue patients. Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital is receiving more than a hundred patients every day.

The highest number of cases have been reported in Kathmandu valley itself. With the surge in patients, there is a growing demand for blood donation. “The dengue virus spreads every two to three years in Nepal. Although the spread of the dengue virus is seasonal, rapid urbanization is a major cause of the spread of dengue. The unplanned urbanization with numerous construction sites provides favorable breeding sites for the dengue causing mosquitoes to breed rapidly,” says Senior Health Administrator at the Ministry of Health and Population, Doctor Guna Sharma.

The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) is coordinating with the provinces and local levels to control dengue infection. Recently a high-level meeting was held at the office of the Prime Minister which discussed the prevention and control of the dengue virus. “This is an opportunity for the local governments to take the lead. Local governments can formulate new policies and rules for the prevention and control of the dengue virus. If local governments are committed the dengue virus can be controlled within two weeks of proper measures taken,” says Doctor Sharma.

“Breeding control and search and destroy campaigns is the effective measure to be taken to control the dengue virus. Community participation is essential in this. On an individual level, using mosquito repellent creams should help in saving oneself from the virus,” he adds.

 'Search and destroy mosquito larva' campaign is currently in execution to reduce the transmission of the dengue virus. Mosquito breeding in public places has been found highly dangerous. Therefore the throwing of bottles, plastic boxes, tires, coconut shells, broken cisterns, or any other object that is capable of storing water should be avoided in public places, to reduce the breeding of dengue-causing mosquitoes. Under the prevention and control acts, Kathmandu metropolitan city is carrying out door-to-door awareness programs as well.

Assessing the situation the MoHP has recommended citizens to wear full sleeves clothes, use mosquito nets while sleeping, and avoid the store of water in public places.

Dengue emerged in Nepal in the form of Dengue Fever (DF), Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF), and Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS). The earliest case, according to MoHP, was detected in 2005. Dengue cases have continued to be detected since then and have resulted in several outbreaks throughout the years. The most affected districts remain to be Chitwan, Kanchanpur, Kailali, Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Kapilvastu, Parsa, Rupandehi, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Saptari, Jhapa, and recently Kathmandu, indicating a spread throughout the country. The entomological surveillance conducted by the Epidemiology and disease control division of Nepal, during the years 2006-2010, has shown dengue spreads through local transmission in Nepal. Alarmingly, the studies have shown a trend of dengue disease expanding from the lowland areas of Nepal to higher elevations, in recent years.

Generally, the illness begins within 2 to 7 days of infection, with high fever, loss of appetite, nausea, dehydration, and aches in joints and muscles being the commonly observed symptoms. Pregnant women and infants are vulnerable to more severe cases of dengue.

So far, early case detection and proper health care have been found to reduce the dengue mortality rate. No vaccines or medicines have been medically made available for use in the treatment and prevention of dengue.


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