Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) worker sprays insecticides to kill mosquitoes in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 10 July 2023. EFE/EPA/FILE/MONIRUL ALAM

Dengue deaths touch an all-time high in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Aug 3 (EFE).- Bangladesh recorded Thursday the highest number of deaths from dengue in a year following the death of 10 people in the last 24 hours, taking the total deaths from the disease to 283 so far in 2023.

The Directorate General of Health Services reported 10 new deaths in 24 hours until 8 am Thursday, which took the number of deaths past the 2022 tally of 281, the previous highest number of deaths recorded in a single year since official counting began in 2000.

In a press statement, the health directorate also reported 2,589 fresh cases of hospitalization, taking the total to 59,716.

The caseload is believed to be much higher as many people are still outside the government surveillance network.

In 2019, 101,354. dengue cases were recorded in Bangladesh, the highest ever infections in a year in the south Asian country.

“We cannot accommodate all the patients who come to our hospital. We only admit the most serious patients,” Nikaruzzaman, director of Mugda Medical College Hospital in Dhaka, told EFE.

“We have some 500 dengue patients now in our hospital. Every day, at least 150 people receive treatment here,” he added.

Entomologists blamed a lack of coordination among government agencies for the dengue situation turning this serious.

“We have several authorities working to control dengue. But they lacked coordination. I also doubt the efficacy of the chemical we use for mosquito control,” Abu Faiz Mohammad Aslam, a zoology professor at Jahangirnagar University near Dhaka, told EFE.

Aslam underlined that although the situation was already grim, there was still time for effective measures to prevent further aggravation of the outbreak.

“We are only at the start of August. This situation may turn catastrophic unless immediate steps are taken,” he said.

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