(CNN)More than 1,000 people in Bangladesh, the majority of whom are children, have been diagnosed with dengue in the last 24 hours, amid the country's worst outbreak on record, a senior health ministry official said Tuesday.
Bangladesh hit by worst dengue outbreak on record
Eight people have died since January and more than 13,600 patients have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne fever so far this year, with 8,348 cases, or more than half, coming in the month of July -- a sharp increase from the 1,820 cases in June and 184 cases in May this year, according to official figures.
"Since we started keeping record of dengue cases, which is from 2000, this is the worst dengue outbreak we have seen in Bangladesh," said Ayesha Akhter, assistant director at the Directorate General of Health Services told CNN.
More than 50 districts across the country have been affected, but the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka -- home to more than 20 million people -- is the worst-hit city in the country, said Akhter, with some hospitals struggling to find space for patients.
"We are making sure all the government and private hospitals have all the resources to tackle this outbreak. We have opened a special section at Dhaka Medical College Hospital for dengue patients," said Akhter.
A viral infection, dengue causes flu-like symptoms, including piercing headaches, muscle and joint pains, fever and full body rashes. Of the millions of people infected with dengue every year worldwide, an estimated 500,000 develop severe symptoms requiring hospitalization, and of those some 12,500 people die, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)
The government's Disease Control Division has requested technical assistance from the WHO in implementing mosquito population control methods, according to a report published this week, in a bid to help stymy the spread of the nationwide disease.
Additionally, the health ministry says it has developed national treatment guidelines and is aiming to raise awareness of the disease through daily advertisement in newspapers, alongside other measures to tackle the spread of the illness.