Dengue outbreak: Blood banks running out of platelets as dengue fuels demand

Dhaka Tribune, 25th July 2019

At least 560 new dengue patients hospitalized between Tuesday and Wednesday

A continuous increase in the number of people infected with dengue has created a huge demand for platelets, a human blood component vital to prevent bleeding.

A number of blood transfusion and donation centres are now struggling to meet the fast-rising demand for platelets needed for dengue patients undergoing treatment at different public and private hospitals, sources at the transfusion centres told Dhaka Tribune. 

Shahed Mehbub, whose four-and-a-half-year-old son is admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU)of a private hospital in Dhaka, had to find donors at very short notice. 

“My son’s blood group is B positive. I reached out to dozens of family members, friends, and colleagues to get the blood,” he told Dhaka Tribune. 

“On the first day of his admission, my son’s platelet count was over 52000, but it fell to 49,000 within a day. Then it fell to 20,000 within the next 24 hours, making all of us worried,” the father said. 

Shahed was able to get the blood his son needed, because he was able to contact a large number of people who were able to donate.

“But for those who do not have many family members or acquaintances in Dhaka, managing blood for platelet transfusion is difficult. It gets even more difficult if the required blood is of a negative group,” he added.

Dengue, a mosquito-borne virus, spreads among humans when an infected Aedes mosquito bites them. The disease has no known cure or vaccine yet.

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