The number of people who contracted dengue fever so far in 2016 more than doubled from the last year, Health Ministry permanent secretary Sophon Mekthon said Monday.
Dr Sophon described the dengue situation in Thailand as "dangerous and very worrying". He said 8,651 people were confirmed infected with the virus in the first two months of this year, up from 4,263 cases in the same period last year. There has been one fatality.
If dengue prevention and control measures were not strictly implemented in vulnerable localities, the situation could resemble that of 2013 when there were 11,000 confirmed dengue cases in the first two months, he warned. In all, 160,000 cases were reported in 2013.
Last month, the Department of Disease Control warned the dengue epidemic is expected to worsen this year, with 166,000 anticipated cases. It urged people to ensure their houses are free of pools of stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed.
Dr Sophon said the Central Plain accounted for more than 50% of all the dengue cases this year, with Bangkok being the province with the largest number of patients at 2,223, followed by Si Sa Ket and Somgkhla, which recorded 335 each. Most of the patients were between the ages of 10 and 14.
Dr Sophon said provincial health officials had been instructed to encourage residents to destroy mosquito breeding grounds once a week, especially stagnant water around people's homes, workplaces and schools. People are advised to keep such places clean and ensure all water-bearing containers are tightly closed, he added.