Nepal | September 16, 2019

Dengue cases surge 66pc in a week

Sabitri Dhakal

Kathmandu, September 4  

The number of dengue cases has shot up by over 66 per cent across the country in the last one week with the disease spreading rapidly in urban areas, including Pokhara, Chitwan and Kathmandu. 

Nepal recorded 1,537 cases of dengue, a mosquito-borne disease, till last Wednesday, according to the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under the Department of Health. The number surged to 2,559 yesterday. 

Makawanpur, Kaski and Chitwan are three districts where dengue has spread rapidly. At least 546 people have tested positive for dengue in Makawanpur, up 84 per cent from a week ago. Kaski recorded 517 cases of the disease till yesterday, which is 66 per cent more than last week.  

Chitwan has seen 94 per cent hike in dengue cases to 434 in the last one week, while Kathmandu has reported three-fold hike in the number of cases — 76 from 21 last week. 

“The disease is spreading rapidly in urban areas, as frequent rainfall provides breeding ground for mosquitoes,” said Uttam Raj Pyakurel, vector control inspector at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division.  

The dengue virus is transmitted to humans when the female Aedes aegypti mosquito bites a person. It is highly likely to bite early in the morning or before dusk. 

Alarming rise in number of patients 
District   July 1-August 28  July 1-Sept 3  Rise  
Makawanpur  296  546  250 
Kaski  312  517  205 
Chitwan  224  434  210 
Jhapa  124  294  170 
Katjmandu  21  76  55 
Bhaktapur   1  6  5 
Lalitpur  3  7  4 
Rupandehi  16  31  15 
Dailekh  0  2  2 
Darchula  1  5  4 

These mosquitoes generally grow in mismanaged cities with improper waste management. Dengue-causing mosquitoes lay eggs in water deposited in discarded tyres, bottles and cans, said Ishan Gautam, associate professor of entomology at Tribhuvan University, who also works at the Natural History Museum. 

Mosquitoes that cause dengue also lay eggs in water collected in flower pots and air conditioners, according to EDCD Director Bibek Kumar Lal. They also lay eggs in rainwater collected in urban areas that are witnessing water scarcity, said Lal. 

Climate change is also adding to the woes, as rising temperature enables mosquitoes to breed in relatively colder climatic conditions, Gautam added.  

“We have launched search and destroy operation and community awareness campaigns to prevent the spread of dengue,” said Lal. 

The symptoms of dengue are high fever, severe headache, pain behind eyes, pain in muscles and bones, rashes and back pain. 

Preventive measures 

  • Destroy mosquitoes and their breeding areas
  • Keep environment clean
  • Use nets and apply mosquito repellents
  • Wear long sleeves and trousers to cover arms and legs
  • Remove water from flower/plant pots and plates
  • Change water in vases/bowls
  • Recycle or dispose discarded tyres
  • Take medicines only on doctor’s advice
  • Cover pots containing water

A version of this article appears in print on September 05, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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