A Health Ministry official yesterday said more people died last year after contracting dengue fever than in 2017.
Huy Rekol, director of the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria, said that according to a report by his organisation there were 24,684 cases with 23 deaths last year, a sharp rise when compared to 2017’s 6,372 cases with three deaths.
Mr Rekol said the increase was due to last year’s seasonal cycle and climate change.
“The number of dengue fever cases in 2018 was much higher than in 2017 due to a seasonal cycle of every five to six years in tropical Asia and also climate change,” he said, noting that cases last year happened mostly in Phnom Penh, Kampong Chhnang, Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, Kratie, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Oddar Meanchey and Banteay Meanchey provinces.
“We make a lot of effort to prevent dengue fever. Our work has been successful in preventing it,” Mr Rekol said. “This year we are still in the seasonal cycle.”
“We must still take precaution against a possible outbreak,” he added. “But it’s not only in Cambodia – other countries in Asia are also taking precautionary measures to anticipate a dengue outbreak.”
Mr Rekol said his organisation supplied 250 tonnes of larvacide BTI and 3,000 litres of chemicals to fog mosquitos with, noting that he is aiming to reduce infections by 90 percent throughout the Kingdom.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Mam Bun Heng urged officials to prevent a dengue outbreak as efficiently as possible.
“Officials must examine construction sites and residential areas to ensure that the number of cases are reduced,” Mr Bun Heng said.
The NCPEMC first introduced measures to prevent an outbreak of dengue fever last year after the Health Ministry warned cases could spike.
It also issued guidelines to rid homes of mosquitos and its larvae, including making sure stagnant water is not present in cans, old tyres and jars.
Luciano Tuseo, WHO representative in Cambodia, urged WHO partners to continue their work in working with the government.
“I hope and encourage all partners to work closely with the government to ensure synergies and enhance coordination so that we can all work together to eliminate [dengue] in the near future,” Mr Tuseo said.