Bangladesh is currently experiencing a significant upsurge in dengue fever cases, with a higher magnitude compared to the previous year. Since June 2023, there has been an exponential increase in caseloads, with a total of 69,483 confirmed cases and 327 related deaths recorded between January and August 2023. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) stands at 0.47%, indicating the severity of the outbreak.
Dengue fever is a viral infection transmitted through mosquito bites, primarily in warm and tropical climates. It can cause a severe flu-like illness and can lead to a potentially life-threatening complication known as severe dengue.
In addition to the countrywide upsurge, dengue fever has also been prevalent in the Rohingya camps. Since the last quarter of 2021, there has been a cyclic and recurrent upsurge in dengue cases in these camps, resulting in an endemic transmission over the past three years. In 2022, the camps witnessed the largest upsurge in five years, with 15,373 cases and 23 deaths recorded.
In 2023, from January to August, a total of 6,127 confirmed dengue cases, including 6 deaths, have been reported in the Rohingya camps. Among the camps, Camp 3 has emerged as a hotspot, accounting for 51% of the total cases. However, the current upsurge is still relatively lower compared to the outbreak in 2022.
The upsurge in the Rohingya camps started in July 2023, with a significant increase in weekly cases. The younger age group (below 9 years) is more susceptible to infection, representing 38% of the reported cases. Males accounted for 55% of the upsurge.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been leading the multi-sectoral response to the dengue outbreak. Efforts have been made to identify and destroy breeding sites of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito vectors, the primary carriers of dengue. The community health workers have been actively disseminating prevention and control messages, while awareness campaigns have been scaled up by the Risk Communication and Community Engagement Technical Working Group.
WHO has provided rapid diagnostic test kits for early detection of dengue, and long-lasting treated nets have been distributed to both the Rohingya camps and the surrounding host population. Healthcare workers have been trained on dengue detection, management, and prevention protocols.
In anticipation of a severe upsurge, the WHO Epidemiology and Surveillance Team has recommended the activation of available special respiratory infection treatment center beds for the appropriate management of severe and critical cases.
It is crucial for joint efforts to be made to control the mosquito vector population and minimize individual exposure to reduce the impact of the dengue outbreak.
– World Health Organization (WHO)