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Rising Heat and Prolonged Monsoon Fuel Bangladesh’s Worst Dengue Outbreak

Rising temperatures and an extended monsoon, attributed to climate change, are contributing to Bangladesh’s most severe outbreak of dengue, a viral disease spread by mosquitoes. As the country grapples with its worst-ever outbreak, experts highlight the impact of climate factors on creating favorable conditions for the Aedes mosquito, the vector responsible for transmitting dengue.

Key Points:

  1. Death Toll and Infections: As of Nov. 12, 2023, the death toll from Bangladesh’s dengue outbreak is 1,476, with 291,832 reported infections. This year’s death toll is over five times higher than 2022, making it the deadliest outbreak since tracking began in 2000.
  2. Climate Change Impact: Climate change is altering temperature and rainfall patterns, creating ideal breeding conditions for the Aedes mosquito. Experts note unusual mid-October monsoon-like rain, contributing to the severity of the outbreak.
  3. Entomologist’s Perspective: Kabirul Bashar, an entomologist and zoology professor at Jahangirnagar University, emphasizes the changing climate patterns, stating that Aedes mosquitoes are adapting to these changes, leading to increased breeding.
  4. Mosquito Behavior: Bashar’s research indicates that Aedes mosquitoes, carriers of dengue, bite throughout the day, challenging traditional beliefs. The mosquito can also reproduce successfully in diverse environments, including dirty sewers and saline seawater.
  5. Geographic Spread: This is the first year dengue cases have been reported in all 64 districts of Bangladesh, impacting the entire population of approximately 170 million.
  6. Year-Round Surveillance Needed: Bashar recommends year-round vector surveillance to monitor and understand how the disease is spreading in response to changing environmental conditions.
  7. Symptom Variation: Physicians note variations in dengue symptoms this year, with some patients initially presenting only coughing symptoms, adding complexity to diagnosis and treatment.
  8. Treatment Challenges: There is no specific vaccine or drug for dengue, emphasizing the importance of early detection and proper medical care. Hospitals in Bangladesh are facing challenges, including overflowing patient numbers and a shortage of intravenous fluids critical for severe cases.
  9. Impact on Healthcare System: With hospitals overwhelmed, some individuals resort to treating dengue patients at home due to the lack of proper beds and medical resources.

The severity of the 2023 dengue outbreak underscores the need for ongoing research, surveillance, and adaptive strategies to address the changing dynamics of mosquito-borne diseases in the context of climate change.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

Source: Hindustan Times

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