Nepal | January 18, 2021

Dengue threat looms over Kathmandu

Sabitri Dhakal
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Kathmandu, June 16

With its high temperature and humidity serving as a fertile ground for mosquitoes, health practitioners have warned that Kathmandu is highly prone to dengue fever.

Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital today discharged a dengue patient and the doctors fear a dengue outbreak in the capital city as it is a transit point of migration.

A resident of Pokhara who had recently traveled to  Dharan had  undergone treatment for dengue at STIDH and was discharged today.

“Kathmandu is at risk because people from dengue affected areas can come to the capital by air or bus in, a short period,” said Uttam Raj Pyakurel, vector control inspector, at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division.

According to data provided by EDCD, as of July 16, a total of 576 cases of dengue have been reported from Dharan, Sunsari, Morang and Itahari, out of which 504 cases were verified in BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences.

Most of the dengue affected people are from Ward-8 and 15, of Dharan Sub-metropolitan City. Last year eight cases of dengue were reported in Dharan. Dengue there was first reported in May 13.

According to World Health Organisation, Aedes aegypti mosquito lives in urban habitats and breeds mostly in man-made containers.

Dengue causing mosquitoes are also found in Kathmandu. The number usually goes high during Dashain as many people migrate from one place to another. The migration can be both internal and international.

“There is no dengue outbreak in Kathmandu till now. But we need to take precautions as monsoon is approaching and temperature is rising.

Migration is a cause for dengue, said Anup Bastola, consultant tropical medicine physician at STIDH, Teku.

According to EDCD, 16 dengue cases were reported from Thulobharyang, Kathmandu in 2018. This disease was seen in only one patient in the city in 2017. The number of patients suffering from dengue in the capital were five in 2016.

Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary vector of dengue. The virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected female mosquitoes. Its peak biting periods are early in the morning and in the evening, before dusk.

People suffering from dengue have symptoms like high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, pain in muscles, bone pain, rashes and back pain.

Severe dengue is potentially a deadly complication due to plasma leaking, fluid accumulation, and respiratory distress. There are chances of mortality if there is co-infection of other bacteria in dengue patients, said Bastola. The local government should immediately work in decreasing density of mosquito and come up with preventive measures, said Bastola.

Prevention tips

  • Search and destroy mosquitoes and their breeding areas
  • Keep environment clean
  • Use nets and apply mosquito repellents
  • Wear long sleeves and pants to cover arms and legs
  • Remove water from flower/plant pots and plates
  • Change water in vases/bowls
  • Remove water from tyres
  • Take medicines only on doctor’s advice

A version of this article appears in print on June 17, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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