SINGAPORE — The first of Yuli Irma’s children to fall ill with a fever was her 6-year-old girl. The next day it was her 13-year-old daughter, followed by her 12-year-old son.
Living on the outskirts of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Irma feared her children were stricken with the coronavirus. But blood tests revealed they had dengue fever, another viral disease that’s in the throes of an outbreak but has been overshadowed by COVID-19.
After a record number of cases last year, the illness is relentlessly spreading across Southeast Asia, a hot zone where the mosquitoes that transmit the virus flourish. The painful disease kills thousands each year and infects hundreds of millions within a band of tropical territory spanning the globe.
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