Rohingya Refugee Camps in the Cox's Bazaar District of Bangladesh are experiencing an acute surge in dengue cases as compared to the previous four years (2018 to 2021), according to a press release issued by the World Health Organization on 3 August 2022. As of 24 July, a total of 7687 confirmed cases and 6 deaths have been reported in 2022, with 93% (7178) of the cumulative number of cases being reported since the start of the surge at the end of May. Dengue is endemic in Bangladesh, but a similar surge has not been observed in the larger Cox’s Bazar district outside of the Rohingya Refugee Camps nor at the national level with case numbers and trends within expected levels of incidence for the same period. As dengue is recurrent in this part of the country, the population may be at risk of secondary infection, which puts them at higher risk for severe disease.
From 1 January to 24 July 2022, a total of 7687 cases of Dengue, confirmed by rapid diagnostic test (RDT), and six deaths (case fatality rate, 0.08%) have been reported from the Rohingya Refugee Camps in the Ukhia Upazila and Teknaf Upazila (sub-districts) of Cox’s Bazar, with the former sub-district being the most affected of the two. An acute surge of cases began during the week commencing 23 May, and peaked the week ending 26 June, with 93% (7178) of the cumulative number of cases being reported between 23 May and 24 July. A decreasing trend in reported Dengue cases was observed following the peak.
Cases of reported Dengue in Rohingya Refugee Camps are significantly higher as compared to similar periods over the past four years; 2018 (4 cases), 2019 (7 cases), 2020 (3 cases), and 2021 (1530 cases and 3 deaths with a surge from October to December). However, at a national level and in the larger Cox’s Bazar district, case numbers have been within expected endemic levels of incidence; by comparison to the Dengue case from the camps, the larger Cox’s Bazar district reported approximately 121 cases from 1 January to the end of June.
Camps located in Ukhia Upazila are predominantly affected by the outbreak. Camp 3 accounted for over 50% of all reported cases and Camps 4 and 1W each account for less than 10% of cases as of 24 July 2022. More than two-thirds of cases (67%) were among persons 15 years and older with males accounting for 60% of cases. The majority of cases (81%) were hemodynamically stable, i.e. not showing any warning signs for Severe Dengue Syndrome (such as Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever or Dengue Shock Syndrome) nor having any coexisting conditions, while approximately 15% of cases were mild and required observation and admission to primary health facilities. Severe Dengue with signs of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome was observed in 0.3% of cases and required admission to Cox’s Bazar District Hospital located within the camp. Among patients admitted to the hospital, 1% required blood transfusion. Previous Dengue infection was reported in 1% of current cases.
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