Dengue on the rise

Nepal has been posting a previously unseen number of dengue cases.

Starting from a few cases in Dharan, Sunsari this year, the outbreak has spread nationwide in a considerable number – to the extent a few hilly districts (first cases) also reported the disease.

The mosquito- borne disease, according to data maintained by Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under the Ministry of Health, is mostly active in Chitwan, Jhapa Kathmandu, Makawanpur, Kaski, and the Terai region.

In Kathmandu the outbreak is significant – at least 1,350 people out of 2500 who went to Teku-based Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital within the last 9 days have been found dengue positive. Similarly, a total of 62 people in Rupandehi district have been diagnosed with dengue, said Dr Rajendra Giri, chief of the district public health. They all are assumed to have been infected with the disease within the last month.

Of the total 2892 visitors to the hospitals in Chitwan district, 1036 people have been tested positive for the disease in the last month, Vector Control Inspector Ram KC of District Health Office Chitwan said. Earlier, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development Chakramani Khanal was also infected with the disease. The epidemic has already claimed 3 lives so far in the nation.

Doctors and experts say that the disease carrying mosquitos are expected to stick around until summer end, until the heat starts to abate. The disease is a mosquito-borne viral disease and is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the of the species Aedes aegypti and, to a lesser extent, Ae. albopictus. This mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika infection. Dengue spreading mosquitoes live in urban habitats and breed mostly in human made containers.

The common symptoms of the disease are high fever, joint pain, severe backpain, muscle pain, pain behind eyes. If the symptoms persist, doctors advise not to panic, rather immediately seek medical attention.

The government has declared free treatment of those who have been infected with dengue and is stepping up their efforts to control the epidemic.

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