The COVID-19 pandemic lock-down has already driven people and the economy to the edge as governments and health organizations are unsuccessful in containing the coronavirus. While the suffering is not ending, another risk knocks the door. The monsoon months bring much-needed rain but also mosquito-borne diseases between late May and September. Dengue is a mosquito-borne illness sometimes known as break-bone fever which is spread by the bite of female Aedes mosquito. These species are widely spread during monsoon season due to the immense collection of stagnant water. People have spent more time in their homes reducing Covid-19 transmission and a spokesperson for the World Health Organization said the movement restrictions could prevent communities and households from cleaning up potential neighborhood mosquito breeding sites.

Singapore recorded an average of 165 cases a day during the week through June 13, a record that authorities said could signify the largest outbreak of dengue in the history of the city-state. Bali, the popular tourist destination, has nearly 9,000 infections. Weekly cases have risen to 1,927 in neighboring Malaysia, according to the Ministry of Health, which expects the current outbreak to last until September. Indonesia has recorded some 64,251 cases of dengue in 2020 as of Wednesday, nearly 60 percent more than last year at the same time. 

There are concerns that a wave of dengue outbreak would further strain the region’s healthcare and sanitation services, especially in countries that are already reeling under COVID-19 pressure. Pre-monsoon plans for the prevention and anticipation of mosquito-borne diseases through vector control and public education in India have been delayed due to increased focus on the COVID-19 pandemic lock-down. Stagnant pools of water at many places and residents are unmanaged since people are restricted in their homes unable to check-in offices, building corners, construction sites, etc.  

Another danger in this clash of two viruses that is dengue and coronavirus is misdiagnosis or late diagnosis in both. Dengue symptoms are almost indistinguishable from COVID-19 – all show signs such as fatigue, trouble breathing, headaches, tiredness, and lack of appetite. Further complicating matters, it has been documented that patients with COVID-19 can get false-positive results from rapid serological dengue tests. COVID-19 and dengue, despite having similar early signs, have different disease progression. The former causes respiratory symptoms such as coughing, while the latter progresses into the right shock syndrome of hemorrhagic fever for serious cases, meaning diagnosis must be made early as treatments vary. 

Given that countries in the area are struggling to control both deadly viruses, the most successful approach would be to screen patients for both diseases in fever clinics because they will require isolation.