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Health Ministry issues dengue fever warning

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
The ministry fears a spike in cases for 2018. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Ministry of Health has warned that dengue fever cases could spike this year after a fall in cases in 2017 when compared to 2016.

A report from the ministry said that in the first three weeks of 2018, there was a 130 percent spike in cases when compared to the first three weeks of 2017.

The report added that dengue fever outbreaks usually occur every five to six years.

The ministry said that in the first three weeks of 2018, there were 316 cases of dengue fever and one death, an increase of 130 percent when compared to the 138 cases and zero deaths for the same time period in 2017.

The warning that a spike could be coming in 2018 follows news that cases were cut in half in 2017 when compared to 2016. The number of dengue fever cases dropped by more than half in 2017, with only three deaths.

Huy Rekol, director of the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, said there were 6,372 cases of dengue fever in the country in 2017. In 2016, there were 12,843 cases, with 18 deaths.

In order to battle a potential spike this year, the Health Ministry has issued a warning to provincial departments, instructing them to educate the public and take precautionary steps.

The ministry has also called on the general population to implement precautionary measures to prevent dengue fever by eliminating larvae at houses, protecting themselves from mosquito bites, and urgently seeking the nearest health care service if any family member has symptoms.

“In any case of dengue fever suspicion, do not try self-treatment or the use of aspirin,” it said. “Find a dengue fever specialist.”

Mr Rekol said preparations had already been completed to ensure the country is prepared for any spike this year.

“We have already prepared more than 350 tonnes of BTI and more than 5,690 litres of insecticide throughout the country,” he said. “For hospitals across the country, we have already prepared more than 50,000 units of intravenous drips.”

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