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Dengue up sharply in past month

Dengue fever numbers in Cambodia are showing no signs of abating, with July recording an enormous spike in both deaths and infections from the mosquito-borne disease.

New statistics from the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control reveal that 98 people died from the disease from January to the end of July, while 23,216 infections had been contracted.

At the end of June, 60 people had perished from dengue, while 15,600 had been infected, although the dengue toll has not yet reached the grave numbers of 2007, which saw 400 deaths in the first seven months of that year.

National Dengue Control Program director Ngan Chantha said he was worried that the recent lack of heavy rains may make people less vigilant in taking preventative measures.

Communications and Media Relations Officer for Cambodia’s World Health Organization Sonny Inbaraj Krishnan, echoed that a drier climate wouldn’t necessarily cause dengue cases to drop significantly.

“A drought wouldn’t necessarily mean less dengue. Of course, overall, the incidents would decrease, but it does not mean the disease is over at all. These mosquitoes survive inside ... people should not drop their guard.

“WHO is very worried, but we are working with the National Dengue Control Program to get communities to breed larvae-eating fish, increase community awareness and increase monitoring of the larvicide Abate [used to kill larvae in water pots] distribution,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Claire Knox at newsroom@phnompenhpost.com

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