Bangladesh
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Dengue Deaths, Cases: Records tumble every month since May

The dengue death toll has been record-breaking with each passing month since May this year.

While there were 342 deaths throughout August, the number was already higher yesterday with three days till September ends.

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The average daily death rate last month stood at 11.03 percent and has risen this month to 13.51.

The number of cases too has been breaking records each month, with 71,976 people admitted to hospital throughout August and 73,023 patients recorded in 27 days of this month.

According to health experts, the numbers have been rising sharply every month due to the government's failure to control the outbreak, with almost all the measures taken in this regard proving inadequate.

Speaking to The Daily Star, Dr Benazir Ahmed, a former member of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group of the health ministry, said that due to intense rainfall this month, many Aedes breeding grounds have been created.

"Another reason is the spread of the infection outside Dhaka."

He added, "Along with these, all our efforts to control mosquitoes didn't work and thus, we're experiencing higher numbers of cases and deaths every month compared to the last.

"We're now at the mercy of nature. If October doesn't experience as much rainfall [as September], the number of dengue cases will fall."

Asked about a solution, he said, "Our mosquito-control activities need to be successful. However, it's not possible to achieve this overnight."

The monthly death-toll started out with only six in January and the number varied throughout February, April and May, with no deaths recorded in March.

However, in June the number jumped to 34 and then shot up all the way to 204 in July.

According to statistics provided by the Directorate General of Health Services, there has been an average of 2,704 hospitalisations per day this month.

The gravity of the situation is further underscored by recent records.

September 26 saw record-breaking single-day hospital admissions – 3,123 – across the country, while it was 3,122 on the 17th.

On September 2, the DGHS reported a distressing milestone -- the highest number of single-day deaths, which stood at 21.

On September 20, the number was the same.

Meanwhile, at least 15 more people died from dengue in the 24 hours till 8:00am yesterday, with eight of them outside the capital, according to DGHS data.

Around 2,950 dengue patients were hospitalised in the same period.

The data also showed 9,697 patients were undergoing treatment at different hospitals across the country, while 1,85,906 people have recovered from the infectious disease so far this year.

Dr Mushtaq Hussain, consultant at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, told The Daily Star, "Normally, the rainfall decreases around this month, but this time there has been rainfall in September. As a result, Aedes mosquitoes are being able to breed, leading to an increase in dengue cases.

"What we have control over is our healthcare system and we have to strengthen it so that we don't face such a dreadful outbreak in the future."