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Warning after spike in dengue fever cases

The number of dengue fever cases reported during the first 21 weeks of 2016 was double the same period last year and is expected to continue to rise in the coming months.

From January to May, the Kingdom saw 1,915 cases and four deaths, compared to 967 infections and one death last year during the same time frame, according to a release by the Ministry of Health.

The increase this year was influenced by the El Niño weather pattern and could be attributed to the disease’s pandemic year cycle, which results in outbreaks every three to five years, the release said.

“It’s a natural trend for dengue fever,” said Rithea Leang, the national dengue control program manager at the Ministry of Health. “Cases will only continue to increase.”

The risk for dengue fever infection increases during the rainy season, Leang said. People needed to take preventive measures, especially with children.

If someone were to experience a high fever, they should immediately be taken to a health centre or referral hospital to be examined and receive treatment on time.

A person with higher-than-normal temperatures shouldn’t be treated at home with aspirin because patients could die from the mosquito-borne virus at any time, especially if they didn’t seek professional treatment on time, according to the statement.

Areas with higher dengue fever prevalence included Phnom Penh, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Kandal, Kampong Chhnang, Banteay Meanchey and Preah Vihear, according to a letter that was sent to all provincial health departments by the Ministry of Health.

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