Dengue outbreak suspected in Kathmandu, authorities unawareDozens of cases have been reported in Maitidevi, Ghattekulo and Setopul areas.
On Tuesday, Chet Nath Luitel’s platelet and white blood cell counts were 35,000 and 2,300, respectively. These are far lower than normal, which should range between 150,000 and 450,000 for platelets and 4,000 and 11,000 for white blood cells per microliter of blood, according to doctors.
Luitel, who lives in a rented flat at Maitidevi, Kathmandu, has caught dengue fever. His wife and four-year old daughter are also infected, he said.
“Not only us, our house owner’s son is also infected and many people in the Maitidevi, Ghattekulo and Setopul areas have had dengue fever for the last two weeks,” Luitel told the Post.
Monsoon has ended and the post-monsoon period is considered a high transmission season for the dengue virus.
“Dengue cases have been rising for the last two weeks in this [Maitidevi] area,” Nisha Thapamagar, who works at the Maitidevi-based Apollo Polyclinic, told the Post. “Every day around 30 people come to our clinic for dengue tests and of them 80 percent tests come back positive.”
Experts suspect that dengue virus might have spread among a large number of people in the Maitidevi area and they warned that the virus could spread throughout the Valley and other districts too.
“Every day several cases of dengue infection come to our hospital,” said Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, chief of Clinical Research Unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital. “As our hospital has been treating Covid-19 patients, Dengue patients might have gone to other hospitals.”
Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease, which is transmitted by female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. The same vector also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika viruses.
In 2019, at least six people died and over 16,000 were hospitalised due to dengue outbreaks in 68 districts of Nepal.
Officials at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, however, said they are unaware of a dengue outbreak in Kathmandu.
“We don’t have information of a dengue outbreak in Kathmandu,” said Uttam Koirala, an official at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division. “People infected with dengue virus might have reached private clinics and nursing homes for treatment so we don’t have information about them.”
Sporadic cases of dengue were reported in many districts, including in Kathmandu Valley last month also.
According to doctors, mild to high fever, severe muscle pain, rashes, severe headache, and pain in the eyes are some of the symptoms of dengue and treatment should be sought immediately. While there is no specific cure for dengue, early detection and access to proper medical care can lower fatalities.