Dengue Fever: A Soaring Illness in Yemen

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-05-28 11:22 AM UTC


Dengue fever keeps spreading in Yemen, claiming lives and weakening the health of people in several Yemeni provinces. Over the past few weeks, hundreds of new dengue fever cases have been reported in Al-Matoun district of Al-Jawf in North Yemen.

Health officials in Al-Jawf said 311 dengue fever cases and one case of death have been recorded during this month amid the deteriorating health system in the province. According to the health officials, the Health Authorities began taking procedures, including providing medical equipment and conducting tests to find people carrying the disease.

While some cases are reported, many other deaths and cases are unreported, particularly in rural areas, where health facilities are unavailable or inadequate.

Health reports said Taiz province has recorded 774 cases of dengue virus infection since the beginning of 2024. 

The Health Ministry of Yemen’s internationally recognized government the years 2020-2024, the Ministry recorded about 40,207 dengue fever cases and 21 deaths in the city of Taiz from 2020 to 2024.

Late last month, the local authority in Taiz launched a fogging campaign to combat dengue fever in districts of (Al-Mudhaffar, Cairo, and Sallah) as part of preventive measures to confront the spread of epidemics and fevers.

Dengue fever is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female mosquitoes, the World Health Organization says. It is more common in tropical and subtropical climates.

In 2000, nearly 20,000 people died of it worldwide, according to the WHO. This year, at least 40,000 will perish, and this indicates the growing rise and danger of such a disease.

People can be infected with dengue fever without knowing, and only medical tests can reveal the infection. According to the WHO, some people show common symptoms such as high fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and rash.

The highest number of dengue cases was recorded in 2023, affecting over 80 countries. Over 6.5 million cases and more than 7300 dengue-related deaths were reported.

The WHO reports said that the significant decline in immunization rates has led to the resurge of preventable diseases among children in Yemen, rising to unprecedented levels. Vaccination campaigns have been hindered, particularly in Houthi-controlled areas, where some officials have promoted doubts about the importance of such vaccines.

In 2022, Yemen saw the deaths of 41,000 children from illnesses that could have been treated or avoided, according to UNICEF. While the vaccination campaigns in Yemen have been reduced, many health facilities have stopped operating. 

The WHO estimates that 46 percent of health facilities across the country are only partially functioning or completely out of service, due to shortages of staff, funds, electricity, or medicines.