Dengue fever killed eight people in the past two weeks, an alarming figure which should put the public on alert to prevent a outbreak like the one in 2007, government officials said yesterday.
The death toll now stands at 38 through the first 25 weeks of the year, and public health facilities have reported 8,843 dengue cases in the Kingdom, with 1,642 cases in the past two weeks alone.
The updated numbers came from National Dengue Control Program director Ngan Chanta, who had received updated records and described weeks 24 to 27 of the year as a “big peak of dengue”, pointing to spikes in both cases and deaths.
“This year has the same pattern as 2007,” he said, but added that a similar outbreak remains unlikely.
In 2007, the country experienced a particularly severe dengue epidemic, with 39,861 cases, and a fatality rate of more than 1 per cent.
About 20,000 of the cases were reported in the first half of the year.
But this year, according to Ngan Chanta, fewer cases are being reported because of the success of the national campaign to kill larvae, and the dengue death rate has been cut to below 0.5 per cent.
One hundred and forty tonnes of larvicide have been distributed this year, and another 150 tons are planned for July and August.
This represents double the amount applied in 2007.
“Because of the efforts we make to fight dengue, this year’s death rate is much lower [than in 2007],” Ngan Chanta said.
The official added that delays in data collection may have distorted the numbers, and the public can expect to see a drop in new cases after the 28th week.
To contact the reporter on this story: Xiaoqing Pi at [email protected]