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Dengue epidemic looms?

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Dengue fever 3 times higher than last year with North hit hard. Mosquito control & hospital screening for disease intensify. 

SPRAY AND KILL: Kill the mosquitoes, cut down the dengue cases - that is the theory, as a public health worker sprays insecticide to kill mosquitoes in the Huai Kwang area of Bangkok earlier this month. (Photo by Thanarak Khoonton)


Record dengue epidemic looms

Change in climate helping mosquitoes that carry the disease thrive


Thailand could face one of the largest dengue fever epidemics yet with the Public Health Ministry anticipating that over 120,000 people could contract the virus this year.

That would surpass the number of infections during the major outbreak in 2010.

Last winter's warm temperatures and sporadic rainfall were obvious signs that a major dengue outbreak was due this year, health officials say.

More than 28,000 cases of dengue fever were reported between October to December last year even though winter is not the peak season for the disease.

The number of dengue cases continued to rise from January, with nearly 82,000 reported infections and 78 fatalities as of Friday, public health permanent-secretary Narong Sahamethapat said. Most of the fatalities were aged between 15-24 years.

The figure is three times higher than the same period last year, said Dr Narong, who heads the ministry' s anti-dengue efforts.

Two major dengue outbreaks have been recorded in Thailand, with more than 170,000 cases reported in 1986, and 118,700 people infected in 2010.

The dengue prevention operation is at its most intense during the rainy season - from this month to September - when mosquitoes breed rapidly.

"But this disease cannot be controlled just through the work of the ministry," Bureau of Epidemiology director Pasakorn Akarasewi said. "It needs a chain of actions."

Dr Pasakorn said the disease control programme needs to work with other agencies and with local communities.

At the start of this year, the cabinet ordered various ministries, such as the Education and the Interior ministries, to work on a vector control and surveillance programme, which aims to terminate the breeding grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

Hospitals nationwide are also on alert.

So-called "dengue corners" have been set up at hospitals to screen patients with dengue-like symptoms to make a fast and efficient diagnosis.

"But the level of disease control efficiency is different in each area," Dr Pasakorn said.

According to public health reports, dengue fever is now spreading intensely in the border provinces in the North, including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son.

A number of cases are also being found in northeastern provinces such as Phetchabun and Loei.

Most cases are reported in remote communities which are difficult to reach, such as those in mountainous areas where disease prevention knowledge is poor and the vector control and surveillance programme is absent.

Some of these areas are inhabited by minorities and low-income communities unable to afford mosquito repellent.

The key activity in the dengue prevention programme is vector control, authorities say. Weak vector control at community levels allows Aedes mosquitoes, the carriers of dengue fever, to reproduce rapidly.

Society of Strengthening Epidemiology president Rungrueng Kitphati said changes in the climate might have helped the Aedes mosquitoes in "growing stronger and living longer".

Many Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, are experiencing warmer temperatures and irregular rainfall, and such conditions benefit the dengue-carrying mosquitoes, he said.

Scientists have found that the Aedes mosquitoe's life span has increased from one to two months.

Normally, the mosquitoes feed in the day, but Thailand's warmer climate allows them to feed at night too, Dr Rungrueng said. He suspects the changing climate has played a part in the changes in the mosquitoes' life cycle and behaviour.

Urbanisation and poor waste management in cities are also to be blamed.

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absent: without; not including, not present - ขาด

activity: a thing that you do for interest or pleasure, or in order to achieve a particular aim - กิจกรรม

afford: to have enough money to be able to pay for something - มีเงินพอจับจ่าย  ซื้อหา

anti: against - ตรงกันข้าม, ต้าน

anticipate: to guess or expect that something will happen - คาดการณ์ 

authorities: government officials -

behaviour: the way that someone acts or behaves - พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว

blame: to be responsible for something bad - เหตุขัดข้อง

breed: when animals make babies - ผสมพันธุ์, เลี้ยง, ต่อพันธุ์

breeding ground: a place where animals produce their babies - สถานที่สัตว์ออกลูก

cabinet: the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี

chain: a series of connected things or people - เหตุการณ์ที่เกิดต่อเนื่องกัน

climate: the general weather conditions usually found in a particular place - สภาพอากาศ

community: the people living in one particular area - ชุมชน

contract a disease: to become sick with a disease -

corner: a small place that the public can get to easily to get something or learn about something (example: a book corner) -

dengue: a very serious illness that you get if a mosquito infected with a particular virus bites you. Dengue fever causes fever, headaches, and pain in the joints - ไข้เลือดออก

dengue fever: a very serious illness that you get if a mosquito infected with a particular virus bites you. Dengue fever causes fever, headaches, and pain in the joints - ไข้เลือดออก

diagnosis: the act of discovering or identifying the exact cause of an illness or a problem - การวินิจฉัยโรค

disease: a health problem and problem with a person's body, often caused by an infection, either from a bacteria or virus - โรค

efficiency: the ability to work well and produce good results by using the available time, money, supplies etc in the most effective way - ความมีประสิทธิภาพ

efficient: effective and well organised (the opposite is inefficient) - มีประสิทธิภาพ

effort: an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม

epidemic: a large number of cases of a particular disease happening at the same time in a particular community - โรคระบาด

epidemiology: the study of how diseases spread - ต้นกำเนิดและการพัฒนาของเชื้อโรค, ระบาดวิทยา, การศึกษาเกี่ยวกับสาเหตุและการแพร่ของเชื้อโรคในประชากร

ethnic minority: a group of people with the same culture or traditions who are living a a place where most people have a different culture and different traditions - ชนกลุ่มน้อยที่มีเชื้อชาติหรือประเพณีและวัฒนธรรมที่ต่างไปจากคนกลุ่มใหญ่ของประเทศ

experience: to have something happen to you or to live through some event - ประสบ

fatality: a death caused by an illness, accident, crime or war - การเสียชีวิต

figure: amounts, numbers - จำนวนเลข, ตัวเลข

infected: having a disease transmitted from someone else - ซึ่งติดเชื้อ

infection: a disease or medical condition that is caused by a bacteria or by a virus or a parasite - การติดเชื้อ

inhabited: lived in by people - ที่มีคนอาศัยอยู่

intense: done with a lot of effort, energy, attention, etc. - เข้มข้น

Interior Ministry: the Thai ministry with responsibility over the Royal Thai Police, local administrations, internal security, citizenship, disaster management, land management, issuing national identity cards and public works - กระทรวงมหาดไทย

irregular: not according to what is expected - ผิดปกติ

key: most important - ที่สำคัญ

life cycle: the series of changes that happen to a plant, animal, piece of equipment, etc. during its life or period of use - วัฏจักรชีวิต, วงชีพ , วัฏจักรชีวิต, วงชีพ, ลำดับการเปลี่ยนแปลงของสิ่งมีชีวิตในด้านการเจริญเติบโตตั้งแต่ไซโกตจนโตเต็มวัยและสืบพันธุ์ให้กำเนิดชีวิตรุ่นใหม่ได้

life span: how long a person or animal lives; how long a piece of equipment, building, etc., can be used - ระยะยาวแห่งชีวิต, ช่วงอายุ

loom : seeming likely to happen soon - จวนจะเกิดอยู่แล้ว, ใกล้จะมาถึง, ที่เห็นลางๆ

low-income: earning little money - รายได้ต่ำ

major: very large or important - สำคัญมาก

ministry: a government department that has a particular area of responsibility - กระทรวง

minority: of a part of a population that is different in race, religion or culture form most of the population - ชนกลุ่มน้อย

mosquito repellent: chemicals used to keep mosquitoes away from people or animals - ยากันยุง

nationwide: throughout a whole country - ทั่วทั้งประเทศ

obvious: clear; easy to see, recognise or understand - ชัดเจน

on alert: ready to deal with a dangerous situation - เตรียมพร้อม อย่างเต็มที่

outbreak: the sudden start of a disease - การระบาดของโรค

patient: someone who is receiving medical treatment - คนป่วย, คนไข้

peak: the time when something is at its highest or greatest level - ช่วงเวลาที่พบมากที่สุด

play a part in: plays a role in; influences a situation or series of events - มีบทบาท

prevention: preventing something bad from happening - การป้องกันภ้ย

public health: the health of all the people in a country, city or community and their health issues; also the name of a government department - การสาธารณสุข

rapidly: happening quickly - อย่างรวดเร็ว

record: a written account of something that is kept so that it can be looked at and used in the future - บันทึก, รายงาน

record: the best or most ever achieved - สถิติ

reproduce: make babies, breed, procreate, spawn - สืบพันธุ์, แพร่พันธุ์, ทำพันธุ์

screen: to find out information about people to see if they are suitable for something - คัดเลือก, แยกออก, เลือกออก

season: a period of time during the year - ช่วงเวลา, ระยะเวลา, ฤดูกาล

set up: to create something or start it - ตั้งขึ้น

so-called: used for saying that a particular word is usually used for referring to someone or something - ที่เป็นที่รู้กัน

sporadic: not regular or frequent - ซึ่งเกิดขึ้นนานๆ ครั้ง, ที่เกิดขึ้นเป็นพักๆ

surpass: to do or be better than somebody/something - เหนือกว่า, เก่งกว่า, ดีกว่า, เกินกว่า

surveillance: the process of carefully watching a person or place - การเฝ้าตรวจตราอย่างเข้มงวด

symptom: a sign that someone has an illness - อาการ

temperature: a measurement of how hot or how cold a place or object is - อุณหภูมิ

terminate: to end or stop something - ทำให้สิ้นสุด

thrive: to become, and continue to be, successful, strong, healthy, etc. - เจริญ,เติบโต,ก้าวหน้า

urban: connected with towns and cities - เขตเมือง

urbanization: the process of a country or region having more cities with people living in cities more than the countryside - การมีลักษณะเป็นเมืองมากกว่าชนบท, การทำให้เป็นเมือง

various: several different - หลากหลาย, ซึ่งแตกต่างกัน

vector: in medicine and epidemiology, "any agent (person, animal or microorganism) that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism" (Source: Wikipedia) - ตัวนำโรค

vector control: controlling the spread of a disease -

waste: the useless part that is thrown away after something is used - ที่ไม่มีประโยชน์, การสูญเสียไปโดยเปล่าประโยชน์, การหมดเปลือง

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