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Dengue numbers swelling, says ministry

With cases in the past six months more than doubled compared to last year, the Ministry of Health is urging Cambodians to exercise caution as the Kingdom builds toward an expected periodic dengue outbreak.

Since January, 1,346 people have been infected by the virus – a 69 per cent increase from the same period in 2014, National Dengue Control Program manager Dr Leang Rithea said yesterday at a National Dengue Day event in Phnom Penh.

About 71 per cent of those infected were primary school children between the ages of five and 14. Three children have died from the disease.

“We are asking people to protect themselves by wearing long-sleeved shirts, covering water jugs they use and turning unused jugs upside down so mosquitoes don’t breed,” Rithea said.

Based on CNM’s data since 1980, Cambodia, like most countries in the region, usually experiences an epidemic every three to six years.

“The peak of the next predicted epidemic is in 2016 and what’s happening now is a build-up,” said Rithea, adding that he could not confirm the reason behind the cyclical upticks.

CNM has increased its stock of dengue prevention chemicals and will distribute more than 35,000 bottles of IV fluid, about 9,000 litres of insect repellent and 345 tonnes of larvicide across the country.

“Children especially have to be careful, so teachers, parents and local authorities should be on alert,” said WHO’s Dr Luciano Tuseo.

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