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Dengue cases sharply drop

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A child recieves treatment for dengue fever at the National Pediatric Hospital in 2019. Hong Menea

Dengue cases sharply drop

In 2021, nearly 2,000 cases of dengue fever were detected, while the number of deaths nationwide was eight, a significant reduction over the previous year, according to the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control (NCM).

The figures were revealed at the NCM’s 2021 work review and 2022 work direction meeting held in Siem Reap province on February 22.

“In 2021, there were 1,903 cases, whereas 2020 saw 11,977 cases, a large reduction. Eight people lost their lives to dengue in 2021, just half of the losses of 2020, when 16 people passed away,” it said in a press release.

NCM said the highest number of dengue cases in 2021 were in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal, Takeo, Kampong Speu, Kampong Cham and Tbong Khmum. The most common form of the virus was the DNV-2 type, which made up 78 per cent of cases – a change from the previous five years, when DNV-1 was the dominant strain.

“We implemented a national strategy for dengue in 2013 and we have achieved good results and hit the indictors we predicted. Last year, we had an incidence rate of less than 12.1 per 100,000 people, and a mortality rate lower than 0.2 per cent. These results suggest that our strategy is paying off,” it added.

This year, the National Dengue Control Programme has prepared 160 tonnes of the anti-dengue larvicide Abate, 6,000 litres of mosquito repellent and 69,000 bottles of serum. These will be distributed to increase the effectiveness of response management. That will treat at least 90 per cent of standing water containers with Abate, according to its estimate.

NCM director Huy Rekul said that despite its achievements, the centre also faced a number of challenges which affected its programmes.

“The Covid-19 crisis has affected our work, and management of dengue transmission agents by larvicide remains limited because we have not achieved 100 per cent coverage,” he said.

He added that people did not always participate in the management of standing water, most notably by leaving water in stored used tyres. The availability of still water was the most favourable factor in the spread of the aedes mosquito, he said.

“There are also some people who seek out private healthcare before using state services. Sometimes, private services do not have the skills to diagnose, care for or treat dengue fever, causing patients to develop serious illnesses. Some deaths were caused by a delay in referral to state specialists,” he said.

Rekul said the 2022 goals of the programme are to continue strengthening the national strategy, reduce case numbers by at least 20 per cent and lower the death rate to less than 0.15 per cent of cases.

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