Bangladesh struggles with worst outbreak of dengue fever

Patients receive treatment for dengue at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 31, 2019. (AP)
Updated 01 August 2019

Bangladesh struggles with worst outbreak of dengue fever

  • More than 1,400 people have been diagnosed with dengue, the Health Ministry said on Thursday

DHAKA: Bangladesh is grappling with its worst outbreak of dengue fever, with hospitals packed with patients as the disease spreads rapidly in the country.

At least 14 people have died and more than 17,000 have come down with the virus so far this year, according to official figures, making it the deadliest year since the first recorded epidemic in 2000.

More than 1,400 people have been diagnosed with dengue in the past 24 hours alone, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Local media reported that at least 50 people had died of dengue.

Hospitals in Dhaka are struggling to find space as many with symptoms such as high fever, vomiting and joint pains seek treatment.

The government has launched initiatives to control the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, from awareness campaigns to efforts to kill mosquito larvae, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said. 

“We need concerted effort to tackle the crisis,” he said.

Dengue is common in South Asia, especially during the monsoon season which runs from June to September, and there is no specific treatment, but with early detection and access to proper medical care fewer than 1 percent of sufferers die from the disease.

Globally, the number of dengue cases dropped in 2017-2018, but there has been a sharp increase in 2019, especially in Australia, Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

The dengue virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which has grown rapidly along with urbanization and globalization because it thrives in tropical mega-cities and is easily spread in goods containing small puddles of water.

India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

Updated 26 min 31 sec ago

India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

  • India’s coast guard seized $42 million worth of ketamine

NEW DELHI: India’s coast guard has arrested six Myanmar men and seized $42 million worth of ketamine after spotting a suspicious vessel in the Indian Ocean near the Nicobar Islands.
The 1,160-kilogram drug haul came after coast guard aircraft spotted the boat, which had its lights off, on Wednesday in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the defense ministry said in a statement.
The boat’s crew did not respond to radio calls and the coast guard eventually boarded it, with officials finding “57 gunny bundles of suspicious substance” on Friday.
“Preliminary analysis ... revealed that the suspicious substance was ketamine and there were 1,160 packets of 1kg each onboard the vessel,” the ministry added.
The six Myanmar men and cargo were taken to Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they were questioned by investigators.
They claimed they left Myanmar on September 14 and were due to rendezvous with another boat “operating near the Thailand-Malaysia maritime border line” on Saturday, the statement said.
The Nicobar Islands are located near Southeast Asia, off Myanmar’s coast.
Parts of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand are in the lawless “Golden Triangle” zone, the world’s second-largest drug-producing region after Latin America.
Large amounts drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine are churned out in remote jungle labs each year and smuggled across Asia and beyond.