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Education Ministry issues dengue fever warning

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
A worker sprays insecticide to rid a village of mosquitoes. Several dengue fever outbreaks have hit the Kingdom this year. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Education Ministry is warning parents and teachers of an increased risk of children contracting dengue fever as the disease has wreaked havoc in the Kingdom.

The ministry is also urging parents and teachers to follow guidelines to prevent students from contracting the disease.

According to the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, more than 20 people have died so far this year from dengue fever. It noted that the disease has affected more than 12,000 people.

Earlier this month, 70 percent out of more than 100 children under observation at the Oddar Meanchey provincial referral hospital were confirmed to be suffering from dengue fever.

Leang Rithea, dengue control programme manager with the NCM, on Tuesday said the Health Ministry was preparing itself for a spike in dengue cases.

“The ministry has prepared more than 200 tonnes of abate. If there’s a shortage, we will add more,” Mr Rithea said. “We have also prepared about 70,000 intravenous drips, over 6,000 litres of mosquito spray and thousands of leaflets on how to prevent the spread of dengue fever.”

He noted that cases of dengue have affected people in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom and Preah Sihanouk.

Ros Soveacha, Education Ministry spokesman, yesterday said parents and teachers must be wary because the disease is most prevalent during the rainy season.

Children stare at a large mosquito mascot sitting on top of a van used during a dengue fever education campaign. KT/Chor Sokunthea

“The Education Ministry regularly monitors the situation regarding dengue fever,” he said. “We continue to appeal to everyone, including students, teachers, parents and local officials to prevent the disease, especially by cooperating with the Health Ministry to prevent the disease.”

Mr Soveacha said the Education Ministry had issued instructions on how to prevent the disease from spreading, noting that it will do so again within the coming days.

“The ministry will issue guidelines on dengue fever prevention measures in education institutions, in accordance with a Health Ministry announcement dated June 13 on measures to prevent an outbreak and fight the disease,” he said.

According to the NCM, last year saw 24,684 cases of dengue fever with 23 deaths, while the previous year saw 6,372 cases with three deaths.

The United States embassy in Cambodia yesterday said on its Facebook page that health officials have reported a high number of dengue fever cases this year.

“Concerns have been raised that dengue may reach epidemic levels,” it said. “Please take precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites.”

Top Vong Dara, director of Prey Tob high school in Takeo province, yesterday said two of his students fell ill after contracting dengue fever.

“The parents of the two students had to ask [absences] permission with me because their children caught dengue fever,” Mr Vong Dara said. “One student is better now, but the other one is still in hospital.”

He said his faculty have been told about how they can protect themselves from dengue fever. Mr Vong Dara said they can do so by thoroughly cleaning the school’s surrounding and wearing protective clothes.

“We tell them almost every day since our students got sick, but it’s difficult because some of them do not listen,” he said. “Some are careless and do not heed our advice. I also tell my staff to remind each other to take care of their health.”

Tat Sreymom, a teacher at Battambang province’s Boeng Moantor primary school, yesterday said she is concerned after two of her own students were sent to hospital for contracting the disease.

“I am concerned about this disease outbreak,” Ms Sreymom said. “I always tell my students to protect themselves from the disease and mosquitos.”

“Our curriculum includes lessons on the dangers of dengue fever and how to prevent it from spreading,” she added.

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