Double trouble: South Asia braces for dengue outbreak amid coronavirus pandemic

June 19, 2020

As the coronavirus continues leaving a trail of devastation behind globally, another deadly virus is rearing its ugly head in South Asia – dengue fever. 

The monsoon months in the region, between late May and September, bring much needed rain but also mosquito-borne diseases. And this includes dengue fever, an illness caused by an infection with a virus transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which currently has no cure. 

Even without the backdrop of a global pandemic, dengue cases have seen a dramatic spike in the past decade due to erratic storms, rising global temperatures, and unplanned rapid urbanization. Last month alone, India and Bangladesh were hit by the biggest storm in 20 years, forcing five million to evacuate. 

An estimated 400 million dengue infections happen around the world each year, killing some 25,000 people annually. According to the World Health Organization, 2019 saw the most number of cases reported, with Asian countries bearing approximately 70 percent of the disease burden.

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