Kathmandu, August 27
Two staffers of Kathmandu-based National Public Health Laboratory, which also carries out tests for dengue, have contracted the mosquito-borne disease, taking the number of dengue patients in the capital to more than 60.
The two who contracted the disease are from Thankot and Kuleshwor and do not have a history of travelling to any dengue-hit area across the country, according to NPHL Director Runa Jha.
The latest news comes a few days after three staffers of Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Kathmandu tested positive for dengue. Reports of medical staff suffering from dengue have raised the spectre of more Kathmanduites contracting the disease.
“When dengue patients visiting hospitals and laboratories get bitten by a mosquito, the infected insect can transmit the disease to both the staffers and hospital visitors,” said Anup Bastola, consultant tropical medicine physician at STIDH. “Once these newly-infected dengue patients return home, chances of them transmitting the disease to others through mosquitoes present in their areas are high.”
Kathmandu valley reported at least 60 dengue patients as of August 25, according to Epidemiology and Disease Control Division. Patients from Imadol, Bafal, Dhapasi, Sorakhutte, Balaju, Nakkhu and Khusibu, among other places, have tested positive for the disease.
More dengue patients are receiving treatment at various hospitals. As many as 1,186 people tested positive for dengue from July 17 to August 23 across the country.
The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are major carriers of dengue. The nature of this type of mosquito is such that it doesn’t satiate itself by biting one person. It bites at least five to satisfy its hunger. “This is why more people are being infected. When infected people visit hospitals, hospital staffers too get infected,” said Uttam Raj Pyakurel, vector control inspector at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division.
Aedes mosquitoes normally live for about 21 to 30 days, but in favourable conditions their life span can extend to up to 45 days. They can lay about 150 to 300 eggs at a time. They lay eggs at least nine times within their life span, said Pyakurel.
“Cleanliness is a must to prevent dengue. Also, mosquito breeding areas should be destroyed,” said Bastola, adding, “Precautions can also be taken by wearing long-sleeve clothes and applying mosquito repellents.”
A version of this article appears in print on August 28, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.