Struggling with coronavirus, Bangladesh faces dengue threat

WION Web Team
Dhaka, BangladeshEdited By: Moohita Kaur GargUpdated: Jul 31, 2021, 12:03 AM IST


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Adding an additional layer of chaos to the mix, given their similar symptoms, the two diseased have been difficult to distinguish

Already battered by a worsening coronavirus crisis, Bangladesh now faces a sharp spike in dengue cases.

In the month of July alone, 1,920 cases have been reported, a 600 per cent jump from June when 272 cases were reported.

At least three people have died, dengue cases have reached 2,292 this year, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

Bangladesh's struggling healthcare system, already on the brink of collapse as a result of the third wave of coronavirus has been further weakened by dengue outbreaks.

In the past 24 hours, 239 COVID-19-related deaths were reported across the country, bringing the death toll to 20,255.

According to the DGHS, 15,271 new coronavirus cases were reported during the same period, bringing the total caseload to 1,226,253.

Except for about 70 cases, nearly all of Bangladesh's dengue victims live in Dhaka, home to about 17 million people.

Difficult diagnosis due to similar symptoms

With over 100,000 cases of dengue in Bangladesh and 179 fatalities, 2019 was the most severe dengue outbreak ever recorded in the country.

According to DGHS data, only 1,405 new cases were diagnosed throughout the country last year, and seven people died.

This year, however, due to the similar symptoms shared by the two illnesses, the diagnosis of both illnesses has proved to be complicated.

Given the high number of patients admitted to the hospital due to coronavirus, dengue patients are facing difficulty getting beds.

After Covid, now variants of dengue

The World Health Organization reports that dengue viruses have four distinct strands. Recovery from infection by one of these strands provides lifelong immunity to that strand; however, subsequent infection by the other strands come with greater severity.

This year, the country's Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control, and Research (IEDCR) reported a high number of dengue patients having been infected with DEN-3, a dengue variant that can increase mortality risks.

Bangladesh has previously been targeted by outbreaks of both DEN-1 and DEN-2, but this year DEN-3 is more common, and both DEN-3 and DEN-4 can cause plasma leakage, respiratory distress, and organ dysfunction.