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Dengue death toll hits 25

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The Ministry of Health has said the number of people diagnosed with dengue fever this year has reached 21,130, with 25 people – all of them children – dying from the disease. Hong Menea

Dengue death toll hits 25

The Ministry of Health is pressing ahead with its campaign to wipe out the Aedes aegypti, mosquitoes and educate people to be careful about their health, as there has been little decline in dengue fever diagnoses since January in nine provinces.

The ministry said the number of people diagnosed with dengue fever this year had reached 21,130, with 25 people – all of them children – dying from the tropical disease.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine told The Post on Wednesday that the number of dengue fever cases had stabilised in the nine provinces – Kampong Speu, Kampot, Kandal, Kep, Kratie, Mondulkiri, Preah Vihear, Prey Veng and Siem Reap – but sometimes there was a spike.

She said the ministry needed more time to take further action, including applying the insecticide Abate to treat standing water infested with mosquito larvae and educating local people to drain or remove all containers or pools of standing water, including roof gutters, old tyres and litter.

“We have not calculated exactly but we’ve looked at the figures and graphs."

“In some provinces, instances of dengue fever had decreased significantly, but some provinces have only seen a moderate decline. We cannot provide numbers in percentages because we are still monitoring the situation."

“First of all, everyone must participate in eliminating Aedes mosquitoes [among which is the Aedes aegypti], then we can stop the disease. Secondly, we must be very careful. If children develop a high fever, they should quickly be taken for a check-up at a public health centre or hospital that has medical expertise in treating dengue fever."

“It is not enough to take patients to private health centres which have no expertise,” Vandine said.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Ministry of Health has said the number of people diagnosed with dengue fever this year has reached 21,130, with 25 people – all of them children – dying from the disease. Hong Menea

She said the dengue fever outbreak this year had affected both adults and children. This is a change from the outbreaks in 2007 and 2012 that largely only affected children.

But she said the ministry could not confirm precisely how many dengue fever patients this year were adults and how many were children.

Ly Sovann, director of the ministry’s Communicable Disease Control Department, attended a workshop on preventing dengue fever on Wednesday.

He said that if anyone, especially children, has a temperature above 38.5 degrees Celsius and their temperature does not go down after taking medicine for two days, they should be taken to hospital to test for dengue fever to avoid the disease becoming life-threatening.

“The government has expanded the number of medical facilities, so now there is a health centre or check-up facility close to home."

“People don’t have to travel far like they used to do. I would also like to ask villagers to stop prescribing their own medicine, and instead consult with proper doctors at health centres,” he said.

Sovann said the Ministry of Health had assigned a special task force to provide training to medical staff in the provinces on the proper treatment for dengue fever.

More than 1,000 officials have received training so far, he said, and that should be enough to provide treatment even as more people are diagnosed with dengue fever.

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