Project Description


Bangladesh has experienced periodic dengue outbreaks since 2000, with the largest occurring last year, resulting in over 100,000 cases and 120 deaths. These outbreaks, peaking during the monsoon season and lasting until December, heavily burden the country’s limited-budget health care system by increasing bed occupancy, consultations, and workload for health service providers. Diagnostic kit shortages are also common. The presence of noncritical patients in hospitals often disrupts the timely management of critical cases. This year, until November 11, 2020, 792 dengue cases were reported, with expectations of a rise.

Concurrently, Bangladesh faces a significant COVID-19 burden with 393,000 confirmed cases and 5,723 deaths. Historical records show overlapping outbreaks, like dengue with chikungunya and influenza A H1N1. Dual infections of COVID-19 and dengue have been reported in Bangladesh and other dengue-endemic countries. Both diseases share some symptoms and immune responses, complicating diagnosis and management, and potentially leading to severe outcomes.

The simultaneous occurrence of dengue and COVID-19 could overwhelm Bangladesh’s health system. To combat this, collaboration among policymakers, health experts, and NGOs is essential. Traditional public health measures and mosquito control strategies have proven ineffective. The health system must prepare for a surge in both dengue and COVID-19 cases. Recommendations include testing all fever patients for both diseases, establishing dedicated COVID-19 hotlines, and enhancing testing facilities and hospital capacities, especially in critical and intensive care. Intensified surveillance and a combination of unique measures are necessary to fortify the health system against this dual outbreak, offering a model for similarly affected countries.

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Keywords: Bangladesh, Dengue Outbreaks, COVID-19 Pandemic, Health Care System, Public Health Measures