Dengue crisis worsens in Dhaka as Eid leave canceled

A child suffering from dengue fever rests at a hospital in Dhaka. (AFP)
Updated 14 August 2019

Dengue crisis worsens in Dhaka as Eid leave canceled

  • Nearly 46,000 patients have been admitted to hospitals across Bangladesh with the virus

DHAKA: Doctors and nurses in Dhaka are working to treat dengue patients after authorities canceled Eid leave for all medical staff on Wednesday.

Nearly 46,000 patients have been admitted to hospitals across Bangladesh with the virus.

In the past 24 hours, 1,880 new cases were admitted to hospital, while more than 4,000 are being treated in Dhaka alone. Death toll estimates, meanwhile, range from 40 to 90 people.

Dengue spreads among humans through its carrier, the aedes mosquito.

From July to September, during the monsoon season, it spreads rapidly as the mosquitos breed. 

The first recorded case of the disease in Bangladesh was in 1965, with the worst previous outbreak affecting the country in 2000.

The current outbreak started in Dhaka last July.

Several government hospitals have already added new dengue wards to accommodate patients but this has still proved inadequate.

“On Eid day, I rushed to the hospital after the Eid prayer and had a very busy day treating patients,” Prof. Syed Shafi Ahmed, director of the Dhaka Children’s Hospital, told Arab News.

“I fear that within next couple of days, again we will have a huge number of dengue victims when people return to Dhaka (from Eid vacations),” he added.

Many employees have had their personal Eid leave cancelled to deal with the outbreak.

“Usually we don’t perform any duties during Eid vacations. For the first time, I have been serving at my hospital for the well-being of the patients,” said Saleha Khatun, a senior nurse at the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.

“My four-year-old son Ayman got affected by fever just before the Eid day. I was worried about the treatment process and availability of doctors as it’s a vacation period,” Dhaka resident Prema Chowdhury said. 

“On Eid day morning I rushed to the hospital with my son and after immediate tests he was diagnosed with dengue. Doctors admitted him and after 2 days, my son is doing better.”

Doctors have warned people to be more cautious about taking other medicines if they are diagnosed with the disease.

“Any medicine like steroids or others may aggravate the impact of the dengue virus for any patient. In case of fever in this season, the best solution is to have enough water and liquid drinks like fruit juice,” Dr. Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research, told Arab News.

“At the moment Bangladesh is fully equipped to deal with dengue as we have already prepared a national guideline about the treatment process of patients. In Dhaka, which is the most affected city, around 2,000 doctors and nurses have already been trained to deal with it,” Dr. M. M. Aktaruzzaman, dengue program manager of Directorate General of Health, told Arab News.

Until last year, the highest number of dengue patients in a single year was recorded at around 10,000. 

But this year it is already close to 50,000, with half of the monsoon season still to come, worrying health professionals across the country.


Russian court sentences 11 for Saint Petersburg bombing

Updated 11 min 14 sec ago

Russian court sentences 11 for Saint Petersburg bombing

  • All 10 people had denied the charges, and said they were tortured
  • The defendants were accused of acting as accomplices, by providing Djalilov with explosives and false documents

SAINT PETERSBURG: A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced 11 people to terms including life in prison after finding them guilty of a deadly bomb attack on the Saint Petersburg metro in 2017.
Abror Azimov, a 29-year-old from Kyrgyzstan, was sentenced by a military court in Russia’s second biggest city to life in prison for organizing and participating in a terrorist group.
Ten other people who are also from Central Asia were sentenced to between 19 and 28 years in prison.
All had denied the charges, and said they were tortured.
Shokhista Karimova, 48, pounded the glass of the courtroom cage and cried “let me go” after she was handed a 20-year term.
The bomb blast in April 2017 killed 15 people in the Saint Petersburg metro and wounded dozens more.
The alleged perpetrator, Akbarjon Djalilov, a 22-year-old from Kyrgyzstan, died in the attack.
Ten of the defendants were accused of acting as accomplices, notably by providing Djalilov with explosives and false documents.
The charges ranged from organizing a terrorist group and perpetrating an “act of terror” to weapons trafficking and making explosive devices.
Critics of the case say the defendants’ connection to the attack was not proven and some claimed they were framed by Russia’s FSB security service.
The suspects had been arrested in different Russian cities and detained in Moscow before being transferred to Saint Petersburg for the trial.
The prosecution said the defendants formed two “terrorist cells” in Moscow and Saint Petersburg and helped Djalilov by wiring him money and providing the explosives.
Defense lawyers and prison monitors have pointed to numerous irregularities in the case however and claim that evidence was planted.
One defendant claimed he was kidnapped from a hospital in Kyrgyzstan, while another said last month that they had been framed by the FSB after it “missed the terrorist.”
The bombing was claimed by an obscure group, the Imam Shamil Battalion, which experts say is linked to Al-Qaeda.