Dengue kills 18 peo­ple in first week of June

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - MYINT KAY THI my­in­tkaythi@mm­times.com

Health au­thor­i­ties said it recorded 18 deaths na­tion­wide due to dengue fever in the first week of June, but said it has taken mea­sures and launched an aware­ness cam­paign to fight the mos­quito-borne disease.

MORE than 2690 cases of dengue, re­sult­ing in 18 deaths, were re­ported na­tion­wide, ex­cept in Chin State, in the first week of June, ac­cord­ing to the De­part­ment of Public Health.

The rate of dengue may in­crease in June and July, so peo­ple should be aware the risk of the disease, warned the de­part­ment.

Dr Zaw Lin, the de­part­ment’s dengue pro­gramme man­ager, said that the in­ci­dence of the disease is likely to in­crease yearly, based on their records, but noted the death rate is ex­hibit­ing a down­ward trend.

“The role of the public is im­por­tant to fight the disease. The death rate among hos­pi­tal­ized pa­tients is less than 1 per­cent. So, peo­ple should go to the hos­pi­tal or clinic if they feel the symp­toms of the disease,” he said.

Look­ing at the rate of dengue in the coun­try, the in­ci­dence this year is higher than 2016 but lower than 2017 and 2015, the de­part­ment said.

“We can say the min­istry now is more con­cerned and in­vest­ing in a dengue con­trol pro­gramme this year, and the health min­is­ter or­dered us to ac­ti­vate a dengue preven­tion and con­trol pro­gramme,” said U Zaw Lin.

The de­part­ment has launched an ad­vo­cacy meet­ing for dengue preven­tion and con­trol na­tion­wide to raise public aware­ness with the sup­port of the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion ( WHO).

This year, Yangon Re­gion has recorded the high­est rate, with 705 cases and six deaths, and Tanintharyi, Aye­yarwaddy and Mon re­gions were also high, with 516, 373 and 267 cases re­spec­tively, ac­cord­ing to a de­part­ment state­ment on June 2.

Stephan Paul Jost, coun­try rep­re­sen­ta­tive of WHO, said that dengue is a ma­jor public health con- sequence for mil­lions of peo­ple in Asia and around the world. “We all know that there is no spe­cific treat­ment for dengue. There­fore, preven­tion is key,” he said.

U Tun Myint, di­rec­tor of Yangon Re­gion Public Health De­part­ment, said that they have many chal­lenges in im­ple­ment­ing a mos­quito con­trol pro­gramme.

“Yangon also has hard-to-reach ar­eas like high-rise build­ings when we do dengue preven­tion. Public in­ter­est is im­por­tant for us when we do our work,” he said.

Chil­dren are par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to the virus. The symp­toms are typ­i­cally flu-like, and can in­clude joint and mus­cle pain as well as high fever.

An es­ti­mated 50 mil­lion dengue in­fec­tions oc­cur world­wide an­nu­ally. A large pro­por­tion, ap­prox­i­mately al­most 90 per­cent of them, are chil­dren un­der age five. About 25 per­cent of those af­fected die, ac­cord­ing to WHO.

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