Dengue fever cases on the rise

The number of people diagnosed with dengue fever in all parts of Thailand has risen significantly this year, with 52 deaths attributed to the mosquito-born disease, a senior health official said on Monday.

Total confirmed infections were 55,485, or 86.82 per 100,000 people, as of Oct 30. Fifty-two of them had died, Dr Suwitch Dhammapalo, director of Disease Control Office 12 in Songkhla, said.  

The number of patients fell slightly in July and August but had risen significantly due to the southern rain season. 

He said people in seven provinces in the lower South -- Songkhla, Satun, Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, Phatthalung and Trang -- were at risk of continuing outbreaks of dengue fever. 

So far, 3,633 dengue cases had been reported in the seven provinces, including four deaths. Three of the fatalities were reported in Songkhla. 

Alarmed  by the rise in dengue fever in the first four months of this year, the Public Health Ministry's Disease Control Department launched a nationwide campaign in May to rid the country of as many mosquito breeding grounds as possible.

At the time, the number of those known to have contracted the virulent, flu-type disease this year totalled nearly 8,000, with nine deaths. By last month, full four months into the campaign, the number of those infected reached 38,500, of whom 42 had died. 

The Public Health Ministry recently instructed officials in every province to form medical teams with specialised knowledge of dengue fever to visit and bring local physicians up to date on the newest developments in dengue fever diagnosis. 

“Dengue fever tends to rise in certain areas and people are encouraged to get rid of mosquito breeding areas around their homes, especially used materials that do not decompose readily such as foam containers and plastic bags. This will deny mosquitoes areas in which to lay their eggs,” Dr Suwitch said. 

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Writer: Assawin Pakkawan
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