icddr,b’s rapid response to the growing Dengue outbreak in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dengue, a viral infection spread by the infamous Aedes aegypti mosquito, is the fastest growing mosquito-borne disease in the world today, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is characterised by flu-like symptoms, including piercing headaches, muscle and joint pains, fever and fullbody rashes. But this year it shows “atypical” symptoms affecting brain, heart, and liver.


Over 15,000 people, primarily in Dhaka, have been infected with the mosquito-borne disease this year. Last year, the total number was 10,148, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). The number of dengue patients exceeded the 10,000 mark only twice in the last 18 years: in 2018 and this year, according to a DGHS report.

Over 80 percent of these mosquitoes breed in clean stagnant water and could be the infamous dengue-spreading Aedes aegypti, as indicated by an icddr,b study published in PLoS One. The threat of a growing dengue outbreak has been looming over Bangladesh as the monsoon season continues, hitting the country earlier than usual this year with higher levels of rainfall. Thus, stagnant water sources are widespread in the capital – Dhaka, where dengue is most-reported. 61 out the country’s 64 districts have reported cases of dengue.


Dengue usually causes mild illness, but in some cases it can become more serious and potentially fatal. Preventing the disease from becoming severe largely depends on early detection and appropriate medical care. With decades of expertise in addressing national and global outbreaks and emergency situations, icddr,b’s internationally recognised clinical laboratory services in Dhaka are offering a wide range of diagnostic tests to screen for dengue, conducting 2,460 Dengue NS 1 Antigenin the past two weeks alone.

icddr,b’s high quality laboratory testing services are now open 24 hours, 7 seven days a week with highly experienced frontline staff to address this ongoing outbreak. Extra shifts (including night shifts) have been mobilised in the Specimen Reception Area and in Clinical Laboratories to tackle the influx of number of incoming patients and to reduce waiting time for service on daily basis, making results more readily available.


City dwellers and the city corporation authorities are continuing to increase their vigilance to ensure that breeding grounds for mosquitoes are not created by discarded items across the country. icddr,b is working closely with Dhaka North and Dhaka South City Corporations to contain the spreading of mosquitoes.