Medical doctors have warned that the rising number of dengue cases in Kathmandu Valley may pose challenge to the public health at a time when the country is already dealing with an increasing number of COVID-19 cases and surging cholera cases.
According to the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD), so far, four cases of dengue have been detected in Kathmandu while the total number of dengue cases in the country for this year has reached 164. Two dengue cases were confirmed only a few days ago in Lalitpur.
According to Satish Bista, Chief of the Health Office, Lalitpur, a total of 11 cases have been confirmed this month only. It was reported by a private hospital, Ganesh Man Singh Hospital. The patients were from Tikhedewal, ward-5 of Lalitpur Metropolitan City.
“Already when cholera and COVID-19 cases are rising, resurging dengue cases is a bad warning to public health. On top of that, Nepal suffered a dengue epidemic just three years back, said Dr. Sher Bahadur Pun, Chief of the Clinical Research Unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku. “If dengue spread is not checked in time, there is a high risk of resurgence of the dengue epidemic again.”
Nepal dealt with the dengue epidemic in the year 2019. During the period, Dengue started in Dharan and spread to 68 districts across the country. At least six people died and over 16,000 people were hospitalized during the year. This was the first time in the history of Nepal that dengue got spread over almost all geographical regions and stayed for a long time.
Dengue is a virus. So far, there are four species of dengue, ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, and ‘4’ in Nepal. The virus was first confirmed in Nepal in 2004. Since then, it has been observed every year in Nepal. The dengue virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
The virus is spread both by infected mosquitos and infected individuals. That is when infected mosquito bites a healthy person then it is transmitted to that person, and if the mosquito bites an infected person then the virus enters the mosquito’s body through the blood and can transmit to another healthy person after 8-12 days.
This year, a total of 51 cases of dengue have been reported in Lumbini, 41 in Bagmati, 26 in Province 1, 19 in Sudur Paschim Province, 12 in Madhesh Province, and seven in Gandaki Province. The highest number of cases, 31, has been recorded in Dhading, 17 in Bardiya, 11 in Rupandehi, 12 in Sankhuwasabha, and 11 in Lalitpur.