Dengue cases break annual record in Bangladesh as death toll nears 500

Dhaka, Aug 3 (EFE).- Bangladesh’s serious dengue outbreak has now resulted in the highest-ever annual caseload as the country’s health authorities on Monday reported 2,197 hospitalized cases, taking the total number of cases this year to 102,191.

Meanwhile nine new deaths were reported since Sunday, taking this year’s death toll to 485.

The number of cases is the highest ever in a single year and crossed the 100,000-mark for just the second time since 2019, when 101,354 cases were reported.

The death toll is also an all-time high, much above the previous high of 281 deaths recorded in 2022.

The real caseload and deaths are believed to be much higher as many people remain outside the government surveillance network.

“Given that we only receive statistics on hospitalized patients, the current situation in Dhaka appears to be stable. However, that is because hospitals are completely full,” entomologist and former president of the Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Manjur Ahmed Chowdhury, told EFE.

“But the situation is really turning bad in rural areas. I don’t see any chance of it improving very soon,” he added.

Health rights activists blamed government authorities’ negligence and corruption for the dengue situation to turning catastrophic.

“Two city authorities showed negligence from the very beginning of the season. April-May is the high time to destroy mosquito larvae. But they did not take any effective measures at that time,” said Faiezul Hakim, convener of the Jonosastho Sangram Committee (Public Health Action Committee).

“Everybody, including the health department, could see what was coming. But no one took adequate preparation. Our neighboring city Kolkata controlled dengue effectively but our officials traveled to Miami to gain related experience,” he said sarcastically.

People told EFE said they were suffering due to long waiting times in hospitals as they struggle to tackle the surge in patients.

“My brother-in-law was admitted to a hospital last week with dengue fever. Every day we had to test his blood to see his progress. We had to wait for several hours every day for this,” said Mohammad Sultan, a retail businessman.

Quoting patients, local media outlets have reported a shortage of medicines and rise in the prices of food required for the dengue patients.

Dengue, a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes flu-like illness, is transmitted by female mosquitoes, mainly of the Aedes species.

The symptoms of the potentially deadly disease include headaches, muscle, and joint pains, and body rashes.

Dengue cases usually start rising in July and come down in October.

Climate change, unplanned urbanization, poor water supply management, and human behavior are often blamed for the spread of the dengue virus. EFE


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