Dhaka, Aug 8 (UNB) – Describing the notion to have papaya-leaf juice for increasing the blood platelet count as a ‘myth’, medicine specialist Prof Dr Khan Abul Kalam Azad has suggested that dengue patients drink plenty of water and juice of any fruit to get a better outcome.
“We’ve published several journals and attended presentations abroad many times in the last 20 years but never heard of drinking of papaya-leaf juice (to get the platelet count increased),” he told UNB in an interview.
Prof Azad, head of the Medicine department at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), spelled out some steps to be followed when someone is detected with the mosquito-borne fever.
He recommended drinking plenty of water from the first day of fever, taking only paracetamol and staying inside mosquito nets.
The physician advised patients to visit doctors and let them take the decision after observing their symptoms and testing the blood.
He also underscored the need for destroying breeding grounds of mosquitoes and keep houses clean to prevent dengue fever.
Meanwhile, DMCH Director Brig Gen AKM Nasir Uddin identified a number of factors like nature, environment, weather, people’s behaviour and lack of preventive measures behind the current dengue situation in the country which according to him is yet to turn epidemic.
He told UNB that the World Health Organization (WHO) has a specific index to call the dengue prevalence epidemic after counting the number of infections against the total population of a country. “The dengue infection has not yet turned pandemic against the entire population of the country,” he said.
The DMCH director also termed the discharge of dengue patients from hospitals after treatment significant. “We’ve been able to discharge more patients in a short time.”
He said physicians have taken the dengue situation as a national and humanitarian commitment, and a challenge.
When UNB approached the mother of a dengue-infected girl at the DMCH, she said her daughter first complained of severe pain. “After three days, she became senseless while at school. Teachers took her to a local hospital and later I shifted her to the DMCH.”
She also said her daughter was recovering fast and doctors were available at the hospital.
Current Dengue Situation in Bangladesh
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), a total of 2,428 people were infected with dengue in 24 hours till Wednesday morning.
A total of 32,340 people were hospitalised across the country with dengue since January 1. Of them, 8,707 patients are currently undergoing treatment at hospitals in the country while the rest were discharged after treatment.
During the period, 23 dengue patients died, the DGHS said although the unofficial estimates suggest the death toll is much higher.
What does WHO say?
World Health Organization (WHO) has identified as some factors — spatial variations of rainfall, temperature, relative humidity, degree of urbanisation and quality of vector control services in urban areas — behind the dengue outbreak in tropical regions.
An estimated 500,000 people with severe dengue require hospitalisation each year, and the mortality rate is 2.5 percent annually, it says.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease. It transmits by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti. Aedes mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika infection, says WHO.
Before 1970, only nine countries had experienced severe dengue epidemics. Today, the disease is endemic in more than 100 countries in Africa, America, Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.
The Americas, South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions are the most seriously affected.
On August 6, the Philippines declared a “national dengue epidemic” after at least 622 people lost their lives from the mosquito-borne disease this year.