Dengue fever: Sharp increase

Last week 5,276 cases & 6 deaths with North hard hit. Stagnant water breeding grounds targeted in public health effort.

Aedes aegypti is a mosquito that can spread the dengue fever virus and other diseases. (Source: Wikipedia).

Dengue cases could hit 120,000

DPA News agency

The Public Health Ministry is launching a campaign to fight a sharp upsurge in dengue fever, which officials fear could hit a record high of 120,000 cases this year, reports said Monday.

In the past week, 5,276 new dengue fever cases and six deaths have been recorded throughout the country, with the highest concentration of cases in the northern region, state broadcaster MCOT reported.

Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong said the campaign will employ more than a million volunteers from July 10-17 to combat mosquitoes in residential areas, schools and temples while educating people about the disease.

Dengue, also called haemorrhagic fever, is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which thrives in places where stagnant water is present, such as old tyres or empty bottles and in wet bathrooms and water tanks.

Opas Karnkavinpong, deputy director general of the Department of Disease Control, said it was working to keep the number of infections below 100,000 this year, but it could reach as high as 120,000.

There have been 59,318 reported cases and 68 deaths so far this year.

For the whole of 2012, 74,250 people were infected with the disease nationwide, with 79 deaths, according to the Department of Disease Control.

Dengue has been on the rise for several years in Southeast Asia, but health officials have warned that recent cases reported in such diverse locations as Madeira, Portugal, Nice, France, and Miami, Florida, could be attributed to global warming and the consequent expansion of breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes.

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Writer: Jon Fernquest
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