1K Dead in Bangladesh's Worst Dengue Outbreak on Record

On Monday, Bangladesh's health authorities announced that dengue has killed 1,017 people in the country since January. This includes more than 100 children aged under 15, while the number of infections has risen to more than 208K....

1K Dead in Bangladesh's Worst Dengue Outbreak on Record
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Facts

  • On Monday, Bangladesh's health authorities announced that dengue has killed 1,017 people in the country since January. This includes more than 100 children aged under 15, while the number of infections has risen to more than 208K.1
  • The figures for 2023 are Bangladesh’s worst recorded for the mosquito-borne disease since it was first documented in 2000. The death toll this year currently sits at nearly four times more than that of 2022.2
  • In a recent 24-hour period, nearly 3K patients were hospitalized. All efforts to control the mosquito population have been ineffective, according to a consultant with Bangladesh’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research.3
  • Bangladesh had previously mostly only seen dengue cases during the annual rainy season. Now, patients are also admitted to hospitals even during winter months.4
  • This comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that dengue — along with other vector-borne diseases like chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika — is multiplying in new regions and at a faster rate due to climate change.5
  • The WHO stated in September that outbreaks like the one now in Bangladesh were a 'canary in the coal mine of the climate crisis.' The El Niño climate pattern was also a factor cited for the dengue epidemic, and Sub-Saharan Africa has also reported recent outbreaks.6

Sources: 1CNN, 2Al Jazeera, 3Voa, 4Dw.com, 5Dawn.com and 6The straits times.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Al Jazeera. South Asia is a frontline region in the global climate change war. Bangladesh, a riverine-delta country, is bearing the full force of climate-related impacts. Longer-than-usual rainy seasons, high temperatures, and high humidity have led to an explosion of mosquito populations that are exacerbating this dengue crisis.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Biomed central. An overlooked factor in the dengue crisis is demography. South Asia, especially Bangladesh, is one of the world's most densely populated regions. This puts immense pressure on its public health system, especially due to unplanned urbanization. In addition, 1.2M Rohingya refugees from neighboring Myanmar have particular health vulnerabilities. Bangladesh's healthcare system is not able to keep up with these population patterns.

Predictions