Bangladesh hit by worst dengue outbreak on record

The death of a Dhaka University student from dengue amid an outbreak has spread panic across the campus. Students of Sir Nawab Salimullah Muslim Hall are staying inside mosquito nets even during daytime

The death of a Dhaka University student from dengue amid an outbreak has spread panic across the campus. Students of Sir Nawab Salimullah Muslim Hall are staying inside mosquito nets even during daytime

More than 50 districts across the country have been affected, but the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka - home to more than 20 million people - is the worst-hit city in the country, said Akhter, with some hospitals struggling to find space for patients.

Ayesha Akhter, assistant director at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told Xinhua the number of dengue patients was 946 in July a year ago, saying some 10,148 people were infected with dengue fever in 2018 and 26 of them died. On Monday almost 1100 new dengue cases were reported in the country taking the total number of people infected with dengue this year above 13,600 which is the highest since 2000 when Dengue was first detected in Bangladesh.

But so far this year, the number of cases of dengue fever has broken all records.

He said that the committee also chose to distribute dengue awareness leaflets in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country. "A huge number of people are coming to our hospital with regular fever but suspecting that they are suffering from dengue", he said.

The country's largest hospital - Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) - has treated some 1,858 dengue patients this month, according to director general A.K.M Nasir Uddin.

An AFP correspondent visited major hospitals in Dhaka and saw patients lying on floors and in corridors as they waited for treatment.

"Certainly, it's an epidemic", he added.

He said that the standing committee expressed worries over the present flood situation and the government's poor response to the flood victims.

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On July 17, the High Court slammed Dhaka's two city corporations for their failure to curb the mosquito menace in the capital. It said: "Dengue fever has turned into a bad situation as 21 to 22 people, including children, have reportedly died and hundreds of people have been affected ..."

The carrier of dengue fever, the Aedes mosquito, breeds in clear water and prefers a subtropical climate and urban or semi-urban landscapes.

Dhaka, a megacity of around 17 million, fits the bill.

"If the mosquito bites a dengue patient in Dhaka and travels out, the disease can spread to those areas", he said.

DGHS records show that the great bulk of dengue cases in the country are reported in the capital.

Fakhrul said that they had chose to take part in the Rangpur-3 by-election and the standing committee had given the responsibility to the party's acting chairman, Tarique Rahman, who joined the meeting through Skype from London, to nominate the candidate.

Meanwhile, Permethrin, the main insecticide used by Dhaka's two city corporations, has proven ineffective against the Aedes mosquitoes, according to a study by the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh. "We have to go through bureaucratic procedures, the switch is not that easy a process", Rahman explained.

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