No evidence 36 of 88 deaths caused by dengue, health directorate says after review

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-08-26 22:32:37 BdST

Patients with mosquito-borne viral dengue fever lying inside mosquito nets at a special ward of the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital in Dhaka on Sunday. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

The government has found no evidence that 36 of 88 reported deaths from dengue were indeed caused by the mosquito-borne disease after a review amidst confusions over the death toll.

The total death toll is believed to be 173, according to the latest data provided by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research or IEDCR on Monday. Of the deaths, the IEDRC reviewed 88 deaths and confirmed that 52 died from the dengue fever.

A total of 64,765 people have so far been infected with dengue after the outbreak started in June shattering all previous records.

The number of people dead from dengue was about 200, according to several media reports. has recorded 179 fatal dengue cases reported by different hospitals and doctors this year.

However, the IEDCR has been investigating reports of dengue deaths from different sources. A big gap between the dengue death figures put by it and the media has emerged.

Prof Mahmudur Rahman, former director at the IEDCR, recommended that the death review process be scrapped altogether as it creates panic among the public.

About the review method, Meerjady Sabrina Flora, chief of the review panel and director of the IEDCR, told that they work in three ways to be certain about deaths caused by dengue.

First, it is necessary to review all the clinical documents, treatment information and duration of hospital stay. Then verbal autopsy (information on symptoms and physiological information to understand the cause of death) and samples are collected.

"When we get the PCR (the virus that causes dengue in the blood) in a lab test, we can say directly that one has died from dengue. And the rest of the cases was recorded as "possible dengue infection". We don’t put those names on the list of the dead."

Dr Ayesha Akter, an assistant director at the Directorate General of Health Services, quoted a review report on the latest dengue status and confirmed that 52 of the 88 deaths were from dengue.

In response to a question, she told they did not find any evidence of the remaining 36 deaths having been caused by the disease in the review.

Meanwhile, the number of new dengue patients hospitalised has fallen slightly in 24 hours to Monday morning from the previous day. During the period, 1,251 people were hospitalised in the country, which was 1,299 a day earlier.

Hospitals in Dhaka admitted 577 patients with dengue fever while the number outside the capital was 674, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.

"Many dengue patients go from one hospital to another. Their names as patients get on the records of multiple hospitals.

"When the list comes from those hospitals to the health directorate, it is difficult to tell whether the patients were in one or more hospitals. We’re also thinking of launching a one-stop service," Sabrina Flora said.

Currently, there are 5,562 people being treated for dengue in public and private hospitals across the country. Of them, 3,081 are in hospitals in Dhaka, and 2,481 in other districts.

According to the report, 98 dengue patients were admitted to the hospitals in Chattogram, 149 in Khulna, 20 in Rangpur, 78 in Rajshahi, 111 in Barishal, 9 in Sylhet and 17 in Mymensingh in the past 24 hours.

As many as 59,030 returned home after the treatment on Monday. The figure was 57,405 on Sunday.