Bangladesh’s worst dengue epidemic on record puts hospitals under strain

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Mosquito-borne disease once largely limited to Dhaka spreads countrywide as climate change fuels fivefold increase in cases in a year, with actual figures likely to be several times higher

• All photographs by Fabeha Monir for WHO

In a small, dimly lit control room at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in Dhaka, data on Bangladesh’s dengue outbreak flashes across multiple computer screens. Government analysts here have been busy collecting and monitoring the impact of the disease across the country since cases were first reported last April.

In 2023, the total reported cases of dengue numbered 321,179, with 1,705 deaths recorded, a massive jump from the year before, when 62,000 people were known to have had the virus, and 281 died. It was the highest number of annual deaths caused by the mosquito-transmitted disease ever recorded in Bangladesh.

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