Worst dengue epidemic in 20 years
Thailand has experienced its worst epidemic of dengue fever in 20 years with 126 deaths and 135,344 people infected with the virus, according to Sopon Mekthon, director-general of Department of Disease Control.
- Published: 21/10/2013 at 05:36 PM
- Newspaper section: news
Municipal workers were fumigating a housing estate in Nonthaburi yesterday to kill mosquitoes and help prevent the spread of dengue fever. (Bangkok Post file photo)
He said more than 7,500 cases a week were being reported in June, but the infection rate had now fallen to below 2,000 a week. so the department expected the the siuation to improve from now on.
The Public Health Ministry has battled the outbreak with operation centres in all districts in the country and continuous campaigning in communities, he said. One strategy was to eliminate breeding opportuinities for mosquitoes around households by fogging to kill the adults and larvae and eliminating water sources for egg laying by community education.
The department’s statistics showed the median level of dengue fever cases at the peak period in June during 2008-2012 was at around 3,000 a week, but soared to 7,502 cases of the same period of 2013.
Wichai Thienthavorn, assistant to the public health minister, said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed dengue fever as one of 40 diseases that have resurged. The disease has become a public health problem in over 100 countries.
He said more than 50 million people were infected each year and more than half of them were hospitalized. More than 25,000 people died from this disease each year.
Dengue fever is commonly found in Southeast Asia but has spread to non-tropical countries too.
He said there are four varieties of the dengue. If a person is infected with one variety and recovers that person will have immunity for that variety and temporary immunity for other varieties. There is no vaccination or permanent cure for the disease, which is spread by a mosquito-born virus.
The WHO has developed a strategic prevention plan for countries in the Asia-Pacific region between 2008-2515 to reduce the death rate to below 1% of population and cut the numbers of dengue cases by 20% per year. The region is the high-risk area, as more than 70% of infected people live in the region.
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- Writer: Online reporters