Amid a severe dengue outbreak in South Asia, Bangladesh is experiencing its deadliest year on record for the disease. In the past 24 hours alone, the country has reported 1,291 new hospitalizations and six additional deaths, bringing the total fatalities for the year to 1,549. The capital city of Dhaka has been hit the hardest, but dengue has now spread to all 64 districts of the country. This has overwhelmed healthcare facilities, resulting in shortages of hospital beds, healthcare staff, and medical supplies. Experts attribute the surge in cases to factors such as a prolonged monsoon, rising temperatures, and the failure to effectively combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Despite promises to address the issue, the situation continues to worsen.
In an unexpected turn of events, Bangladesh recorded its highest single-day death toll from dengue last Wednesday, with 24 fatalities. This occurred during the winter season when infections typically decline. The total death toll in the first 15 days of November has surpassed 1,500, raising concerns that the number of infections may exceed 400,000 if urgent measures are not taken. Experts attribute the higher mortality rate in the capital city to a neglected healthcare system, particularly in rural areas where treatment facilities are lacking. The government’s failure to utilize its budget allocated for dengue control has further exacerbated the crisis. Despite dengue traditionally being associated with the monsoon season, climate change has led to its year-round prevalence. Calls for a public health emergency declaration have been ignored, leaving the country vulnerable.
At the same time, Sri Lanka is also grappling with an escalating dengue crisis. The number of infected individuals in the country has surged to 72,840, with the Western Province, including the capital Colombo, being the most affected. In the current month alone, Sri Lanka has reported 4,347 new cases, highlighting the rapid increase in dengue infections. Health authorities are working to contain the outbreak, particularly in the Western Province.
As both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka face worsening dengue crises, urgent and coordinated efforts are necessary to control the spread of the virus, prevent further fatalities, and protect public health in the region. This includes addressing the shortcomings in healthcare systems, implementing effective mosquito control measures, and increasing public awareness and education about dengue prevention. The situation calls for immediate action to mitigate the impact of this deadly disease.