DHAKA: Bangladesh is in the grip of the country’s worst-ever dengue fever outbreak, officials said on Monday, with hospitals overflowing and social media flooded with pleas for blood donors.
Eight people have died and there have been 13,637 cases of the disease so far this year, with nearly 1,100 people -- most of them children -- diagnosed in the last 24 hours, according to official figures.
“This number is the highest since we started keeping record on dengue patients nearly two decades ago,” senior health ministry official Ayesha Akter told AFP.
Local media reported that the number of victims could be much higher and the Amader Shomoy newspaper said at least 30 people had died of dengue this year.
The capital Dhaka is the worst-hit, with the city launching a fumigation drive to kill the Aedes mosquito, which is capable of spreading devastating diseases like dengue, Zika and chikungunya.
Dengue, which causes flu-like symptoms, can be deadly if it develops into a hemorrhagic fever. There is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat dengue, according to the World Health Organisation.
An AFP correspondent visited major hospitals in Dhaka and saw patients lying on floors and in corridors as they waited for treatment.