Kathmandu, September 11
Dengue is spreading at an alarming rate in Kathmandu, with the district witnessing over four-fold hike in the number of patients in just two days.
Kathmandu district recorded 254 dengue cases till Sunday. But by Tuesday that number had surged to 1,170. The number of dengue patients in two other districts of Kathmandu valley, however, has remained stable over the past two days.
Bhaktapur district, for instance, had registered 33 dengue patients till Sunday. The number remained the same till Tuesday. Lalitpur, on the other hand, witnessed three new dengue patients in the last two days, taking the number to 35.
“One of the major reasons for rapid spread of the disease in Kathmandu district is poor sanitation,” said Baburam Marasini, former director at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division.
Kathmandu district is also an entry point to the valley, so many buses that arrive here from other districts bring in mosquitoes as well, according to Marasini. “This is another reason for sharp hike in dengue patients in the district,” said Marasini.
“Moreover, many dengue patients from across the country are in Kathmandu for treatment. Since many public hospitals that treat dengue are located in Kathmandu district, chances of those not infected contracting the disease are very high.”
The surge in number of patients in the district has filled a public hospital that treats dengue to the brim. Teku-based Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, where patients are tested for infectious diseases such as dengue and are treated, now receives 400 dengue patients every day.
“The government should not charge people who visit hospitals for dengue test,” opposition Nepali Congress lawmaker Sujata Pariyar told the House of Representatives today. “If the infection is confirmed, the treatment should be provided at a nominal cost.”
This is the first time Kathmandu district has seen such a large number of dengue patients. The disease has also affected 55 other districts. Till Tuesday, 5,095 people had tested positive for dengue across the country, up from 3,899 on Sunday.
As the number of dengue patients is increasing rapidly, opposition Nepali Congress lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari today called on the government to declare ‘a national public health emergency’ so that effective preventive measures could be taken to control the spread of disease.
“The number of dengue-affected districts has shot up from two to 56 in the last five months,” Adhikari told the National Assembly. “If health emergency is declared, the government can tap funds from different sources and even pool resources to purchase test kits and send them to dengue-affected areas rapidly. This will control the spread of disease,” he added.
A version of this article appears in print on September 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.