The Thailand Ministry of Public Health has alerted the public that the number of dengue fever cases in the country this year could be the highest in three years, given the number of cases reported up to this point.
Health officials report there have so far been 21,457 cases of dengue fever since the beginning of this year, which is many times higher than the previous year when 4,407 cases were reported during the same period.
19 deaths have been reported so far, many of which were among older people with underlying health conditions, officials note.
Data from the Bureau of Epidemiology shows most cases of dengue fever have been reported in Nan province, followed by Trat, Chumphon, Chanthaburi, and Tak. Ten provinces have been categorized as high-risk dengue transmission zones, namely Tak, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Bangkok, Chanthaburi, Trat, Phuket, Songkhla, Narathiwat, and Satun.
Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. There are four closely related but antigenically different serotypes of the virus that can cause dengue (DEN1, DEN 2, DEN 3, DEN 4).
Dengue Fever (DF) – marked by an onset of sudden high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, and pain in muscles and joints. Some may also have a rash and varying degree of bleeding from various parts of the body (including nose, mouth and gums or skin bruising).Dengue has a wide spectrum of infection outcome (asymptomatic to symptomatic). Symptomatic illness can vary from dengue fever (DF) to the more serious dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) – is a more severe form, seen only in a small proportion of those infected. DHF is a stereotypic illness characterized by 3 phases; febrile phase with high continuous fever usually lasting for less than 7 days; critical phase (plasma leaking) lasting 1-2 days usually apparent when fever comes down, leading to shock if not detected and treated early; convalescence phase lasting 2-5 days with improvement of appetite, bradycardia (slow heart rate), convalescent rash (white patches in red background), often accompanied by generalized itching (more intense in palms and soles), and diuresis (increase urine output).
Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) — Shock syndrome is a dangerous complication of dengue infection and is associated with high mortality. Severe dengue occurs as a result of secondary infection with a different virus serotype. Increased vascular permeability, together with myocardial dysfunction and dehydration, contribute to the development of shock, with resultant multiorgan failure.
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