Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dengue cases hit 1,000-mark in 2019

Dengue cases hit 1,000-mark in 2019

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control staff and supporters march along Norodom Boulevard in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Dengue cases hit 1,000-mark in 2019

More than 1,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported so far this year, a number similar to that reported over the same period last year, said Leang Rithea, the dengue control programme manager at the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control.

Rithea said most of the cases were reported in the capital, Kandal, Kampong Speu and Siem Reap provinces but that the situation this year is “controllable”.

“If people show symptoms such as high fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, stomach ache or vomiting and, for some cases, red spots appear on the skin or bleeding, please go to the hospital immediately and avoid using medicine [not prescribed by doctors] to lower body temperature,” he said.

Rithea called on people to join in combating dengue fever by getting rid of mosquito larvae’s habitat around their homes and public places and to protect oneself from mosquitoes.

According to a report released by Huy Rekol, head of the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, during the centre’s conference on its 2018 Results and 2019 Goals on Thursday, 23 out of every 1,000 dengue fever-infected patients died nationwide last year. There were a total of 24,684 dengue fever cases.

“The dengue fever density rate [in 2018] declined more than expected – it was lower than an estimate of 263 deaths, or 0.2 per cent, for 2018,” read the report.

The decline was attributed to concerted efforts between the ministry and relevant institutions in responding to the breakout and preventing the spread of disease or transmission agents that caused dengue fever.

‘Ahead of our target’

The Ministry of Health has provided 250 tonnes of Abate larvicide and 3,000 litres of insect spray to health agents to be distributed to local people who are vulnerable to dengue fever, including those in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Chhnang, Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, Kratie, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Oddar Meanchey and Banteay Meanchey provinces.

The ministry has also launched an education campaign in the capital and 17 provinces by engaging people in the prevention of dengue fever.

The campaign has reached out to more than 700,000 people in 765 villages; more than 15,000 students at 64 schools; 18 villages where deaths from dengue fever were reported; and 183 monks at 56 targeted pagodas.

Besides dengue fever, the report said there were 65,114 cases of malaria last year, an increase of 41.6 per cent compared to 2017 which had only 45,991 cases.

However, the increase was only for minor cases of malaria, or P-Vivax, while severe cases of malaria, or P-Falciparum, saw a significant decline to only 27.6 per cent.

“Our pride at the moment is that no one died of malaria in 2018, while in 2017 only one person died. In this sense, we can say we are three years ahead of our target of zero death by 2020,” he said.

Rekol said malaria cases tend to increase significantly in June and July. During this period last year, 78 per cent of malaria cases were found in seven among 21 capital and provinces where malaria broke out – Pursat, Kampong Speu, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng, Preah Vihear, Kratie and Ratanakkiri provinces.

Despite the good progress, Rekol said the goal of reaching zero death by 2025 remains a challenge as people living in remote areas, particularly migrants who seek work in the city or neighbouring countries, fail to protect themselves or follow health officials’ guidelines while the number of mobile medical staff is limited.

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng recently urged health officials to offer check-ups for migrants and people living in remote areas in order to find potential malaria areas and provide the people with insecticide-treated mosquito nets to prevent an outbreak.

“I encourage people to soak their mosquito nets with insecticide to prevent dengue and malaria, especially people living in the forest,” he said.

However, Prime Minister Hun Sen recently said some people who have received such mosquito nets from the Ministry of Health have not used them properly, if at all.

He urged the ministry and partner organisations including the World Health Organisation and the US’ Naval Medical Research Unit-2 (NAMRU2) to put more efforts in eliminating malaria from Cambodia by 2025.

“People should not keep their mosquito nets without using them. We need to help prevent an outbreak,” he said.


  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,