By NewsDesk @bactiman63
Two weeks ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning for that dengue fever cases in the region is expected to rise with the arrival of rainy season, after already at high levels, and is calling for action to minimize illness and deaths from dengue.
“The increased number of cases is of concern, but even more worrying is the increase in the rate of people dying from dengue, especially children,” said Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. “This is a signal that we need to work with countries to strengthen care as well as prevention.”
“Health workers in dengue-endemic areas must be able to recognize the symptoms of dengue and the warning signs of severe dengue, do diagnostic tests and provide life-saving care. Also, families need to know what symptoms to look for and where to get early medical attention. This is especially urgent with the rainy season coming to many parts of Asia,” he added.
Last week, Thailand’s Department of Disease Control (DDC) officially declared a dengue hemorrhagic fever epidemic this year as there have been 28,785 patients, 43 of whom died.
The highest number of dengue patients was reported in the Northeastern region, followed by the central region, the southern region and the northern region. The greatest number of dengue patients are in the 5-14 age group, followed by the 35-59 age group, 1-4 age group and a group of elderly above 60.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has recorded over 67,000 cases of dengue fever and three deaths in the first five months of this year across the country.
The capital of Hanoi has reported 548 dengue fever patients so far this year, tripling the figure of the same period last year, according to the municipal Center for Disease Control.
Hoang Duc Hanh, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Health Department, said it was the peak season for the disease in Hanoi and northern provinces due to the hot weather and heavy rain that create favorable conditions for mosquitoes to spread dengue fever.
Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bunheng said on Thursday that 12,000 cases of the mosquito-borne disease had been reported nationwide and that 21 people had already died.
Through June 19, 5184 dengue cases have been reported in Singapore this year, including five fatalities.
Doctors in the country have been asked to be extra vigilant when screening the elderly for dengue fever, as senior citizens may not always show typical symptoms of infection.
Health officials in Malaysia have recorded 59,615 dengue cases through today, including 88 deaths.
From the beginning of the year through May, Philippines health officials are reporting some 77,000 dengue fever cases and more than 300 fatalities.
And this is likely just the tip of the iceberg as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III warned recently–“If you look at the number and you do some computations, you get around 240,000. Dengue is a personal and community concern, and we can still prevent this again from happening if we all do our part,” Duque said.
Dengue is one of the fastest-spreading mosquito-borne diseases. Worldwide, the incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the past 50 years. Dengue is a major public health concern as it can develop into a potentially fatal form called “severe dengue”.
Of an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk for dengue globally, about 70% live in Asia Pacific countries. Climate conditions, unclean environments, unplanned urban settlements and rapid urbanization can lead to increased mosquito breeding, especially in urban and semi-urban areas.