Dhaka: In one of the worst outbreak of dengue in Bangladesh, over 1,000 people, majority of them children, have been diagnosed with the disease in the last 24 hours, according to officials on Tuesday.
While over 50 districts across the country had been affected, Dhaka, the national capital, home to more than 20 million people, was the worst-hit city with hospitals struggling to find space for patients, reports said.
Dengue is mostly caused by Aedes aegypti mosquito. “Aedes albopictus mosquito can also cause dengue,” Dr ASM Alamgir, a senior scientist at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), told bdnews24.com. “This type of mosquito is common in districts outside Dhaka as well,” he said.
“If the mosquito bites a dengue patient in Dhaka and travels out, the disease can spread to those areas,” he said. Former IEDCR Director Mahmudur Rahman called the situation “a cause for concern”.
Eight people have died since January and more than 13,600 patients have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne fever in 2019. Of this, 8,348 cases have been reported in July. In June 1,820 cases had been reported and 184 cases in May, according to official figures.
Ayesha Akhter, Assistant Director at the Directorate General of Health Services, called it “the worst dengue outbreak we have seen in Bangladesh”.
“We are making sure that all government and private hospitals are equipped to tackle the outbreak. A special section has been opened at Dhaka Medical College Hospital for dengue patients,” said Akhter.
The Disease Control Division has sought technical assistance from the WHO to control mosquito population to help curb the spread of the disease.
The Health Ministry has developed national treatment guidelines and aims to raise awareness through advertisement in newspapers.
Several Asian countries are grappling with spread of mosquito-borne diseases, like dengue and malaria with the latter raising fears of a “potential global health emergency”.
Multi-drug-resistant strains of malaria is spreading across Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, according to two studies published in the Lancet.