The number of people suffering from dengue fever in Cambodia has dropped by half in one year, but people still need to be on their guard, the Health Ministry warned yesterday.
The ministry yesterday used National Dengue Campaign Day to announce that there were 1,133 reported dengue cases in the first 24 weeks of this year and just one fatality, compared with 2,447 dengue cases and five deaths in the same period last year.
Leang Rithea, national dengue control programme manager at the ministry’s National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, applauded the latest statistics.
“It means that the number of cases decreased more than 50 percent and deaths dropped more than 80 percent,” Dr Rithea said.
He attributed the improvements to greater awareness of the disease in all parts of the community – schools, parents, teachers and government officials – but issued a timely warning.
“We should not be satisfied with these results because generally dengue fever is transmitted more often during rainy season and that season is just starting,” he said. “Children and adults are still at risk of contracting the disease.”
Dr Rithea said the National Centre was playing its part in combating dengue by broadcasting more information about it and educating people through public health services.
He said they have already prepared medicines, including about 50,000 boxes of serum, 350 tonnes of abate and about 5,000 litres of spray to kill mosquitoes. These will be distributed to all provincial health centres.
Health Minister Mam Bun Heng said the best way people could celebrate National Dengue Campaign Day was to be aware of how to protect themselves against the disease.
“I want to appeal to all people, especially parents, guardians, girls and boys, to keep their houses and surrounding areas clean,” said Dr Bun Heng, adding parents should take their children to the nearest hospital or health centre if they suspect they might have caught the disease.
The World Health Organisation’s representative in Cambodia, Luciano Tuseo, said the incidence of dengue had grown dramatically around the world in recent decades.
One recent estimate was that 390 million people were infected each year by dengue, which claimed 20,000 lives annually.
“In Cambodia, we would like to ask all health partners and media counterparts to help to raise public awareness on dengue prevention and to encourage everyone to take action,” he said.
Dr Tuseo said that in the absence of a vaccine and an anti-viral drug, the only way to prevent dengue transmission was to reduce the mosquito population that transmitted the disease.