Dhaka, Aug 18 (IANS) At least 40 people have died from dengue in Bangladesh, with over 50,000 cases reported throughout the country since January, authorities said Saturday, Efe news reported.
The number of confirmed cases recorded is more than five times higher than any other year in the South Asian country that has been struggling to contain the surge of dengue patients.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection, which causes flu-like illness, according to the World Health Organization.
The symptoms include headaches, muscle and joint pains, and body rashes.
Dengue, which is a potentially deadly complication, is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the Aedes species.
According to official data, a total 51,476 cases of the disease have been reported this year, with 33,015 in the first 17 days of August, while 16,253 cases were recorded in July.
The figure included 1,460 patients, who were identified as having suffered from the fever in the last 24 hours up to 8 am on Saturday.
The highest number of dengue cases recorded in a single year in Bangladesh was 10,148 in 2018, said Abdur Rashid, an official at the Health Emergency Operations Center.
Among the affected patients, 7,864 remained in different hospitals across the country, while approximately 85 percent have already been discharged, according health department data.
The department said confirmed 40 deaths by the fever – 39 of them in the capital Dhaka.
Dengue peaked in September in last few years but authorities hoped the number of cases would gradually reduce following strong control measures.
“The situation is now stable. It did not stop, but it not getting worse,” said Meerjady Sabrina Flora, the director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research.
“If the control measures are continued, which we have to as there is no other choice, so it may not linger until September,” she stressed.
Flora linked the high number of dengue cases this year to global warming, which she said changed the rain pattern, supporting the breeding of the Aedes.
“It is a part of a global problem. In tropical and sub-tropical countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia everywhere the number of dengue cases now high,” she said.
“Overall it is an effect of climate change. Global warming changed the rain pattern. Because of the global warming, this year we did not see cats and dog rain, which normally helps us wash out larva,” she added.
The government official found high humidity as another factor as it helped the germ grow in the mosquito.
“Change of rain of pattern is obviously one reason. But I would say it is mostly a man-made disaster,” said Mizanur Rahman, chairman of the Department of Entomology at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University of Dhaka.
“We have a lack of awareness about personal hygiene while growing plastic waste blocked the drains to keep the water stagnant. The repeated use of the same insecticide led to creating resistance among the mosquitoes, which also contributed to this outbreak,” he said.