GOVERNMENT health officials say they are alarmed by a rise of dengue fever across Cambodia, saying that figures for the first 19 weeks of 2009 show a 50 percent increase compared with the same period last year.
Ngan Chantha, head of the National Anti-Dengue Program and deputy director of the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, said an early wet season had prompted a rash of dengue infections, with 1,419 cases recorded so far this year.
"We are still alarmed about an outbreak of dengue fever," he said. "The number of infections has increased because [it has been raining] continuously."
In addition to the unusually wet weather, he said the spike in dengue infections this year was a result of poor hygiene in affected areas. Ngan Chantha said Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham and Kandal were the regions hit hardest by the disease.
But he said that although there was a rise in reported dengue infections, more effective treatment meant the first 19 weeks of the year had seen just three deaths, down from nine in the same period in 2008. "We have enough health supplies to treat dengue patients quickly," he said.
So far this year, he added, the Ministry of Health had already distributed 120 tonnes of Abate - a chemical used to kill mosquito larvae - and that, beginning next month, it was aiming to distribute an additional 100 tonnes of Abate, serum and medicines to target areas throughout the country.