Bangladesh’s worst ever dengue outbreak a ‘canary in the coal mine’ for climate crisis, WHO expert warns


07 September 2023| 21 Safar 1445

Bangladesh is battling its worst dengue outbreak on record, with more than 600 people killed and 135,000 cases reported since April, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, as one of its experts blamed the climate crisis and El Nino weather pattern for driving the surge.

The country’s health care system is straining under the influx of sick people, and local media have reported hospitals are facing a shortage of beds and staff to care for patients. There were almost 10,000 hospitalizations on August 12 alone, according to WHO.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a news briefing Wednesday that of the 650 people who have died since the outbreak began in April, 300 were reported in August.

While dengue fever is endemic in Bangladesh, with infections typically peaking during the monsoon season, this year the uptick in cases started much earlier – toward the end of April.

Tedros said WHO is supporting the Bangladeshi government and authorities “to strengthen surveillance, lab capacity, clinical management, vector control, risk communication and community engagement,” during the outbreak.

“We have trained doctors and deployed experts on the ground. We have also provided supplies to test for dengue and support care for patients,” he said.

Source – CNN