Bangladesh is undergoing its worst dengue-fever outbreak in the history of the nation. Dengue is a debilitating viral disease of the tropics, transmitted by mosquitoes, and causing sudden fever and acute pains in the joints. Eight people have died and over thirteen thousand dengue cases have been registered so far this year. According to official figures, eleven thousand people -mostly children- have been diagnosed with dengue fever in the last 24 hours.
Local media reported that the number of victims could be much higher and the Amader Shomoy newspaper said at least 30 people had died of dengue this year, according to CNA International. Health ministry officials say hospitals are overflowing with patients and social media is flooded with pleas for blood donors.
Sites such as Instagram and Facebook are particularly being used to reach out to donors around the world. With limited resources, it is proving extremely difficult to provide facilities to such a large number of patients. Witnesses report, many patients have been seen to be lying on floors and corridors despite special corners being allocated for dengue victims.
“Our facilities are overstretched and overwhelmed. We are struggling to cope,” says a medical officer at Dhaka’s Mitford Hospital said.
Experts said climate change effects, intermittent rain, pattern of weather and lack of cleanliness were the main reasons for this increase in dengue cases.
The capital, Dhaka is the worst hit, with authorities launching a fumigation drive to control the epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, there is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat dengue. “Doctors have done all they could do. All I am doing now is calling Allah for help,” Nasima Khatun told AFP.