Dengue fever cases are on the rise in three Ratanakkiri province’s main districts, the provincial health department told The Post on Tuesday.
More than 100 cases of dengue fever have been recorded in Veun Sai, Bakeo and Banlung districts over the last two weeks.
Director of Ratanakkiri provincial Department of Health, Ung Rattana, said as of Tuesday, there were 111 people afflicted by the mosquito-borne disease. Of the patients, a 12-year-old girl from Veun Sai commune’s Kralanh Nhay village died after being infected by the dengue virus.
“The girl died after her parents had purchased medicine from a private pharmacy in the village for what they thought was a normal fever. Little did they know her condition would become worse."
“The parents then brought her to Virak Chey Health Centre but it was too late. The girl died a few hours upon arriving at the clinic,” Rattana told The Post.
He said the number of dengue fever cases so far this year is three times higher compared to the same period last year, where 38 cases were recorded in Ratanakkiri province alone. The surge this year, he suggested, coincides with the quadrennial outbreak cycle.
Rattana stressed that the authorities were collaborating with health professionals at hospitals and smaller clinics to raise people’s awareness of dengue fever prevention methods.
The methods, he said, include using insect sprays to kill the infected Aedes mosquitoes and regularly cleaning the surfaces or corners that might be used as breeding grounds for their eggs.
Dr Huy Rekol, the head of the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control at the Ministry of Health, said in the first five months of this year, there were nearly 8,000 patients diagnosed with dengue fever across Cambodia.
“The Ministry of Health had predicted the surge of dengue fever cases to take place every four or five years. However, the number has yet to reach the emergency stage. It is still manageable,” he said, adding that the disease could afflict anyone at all.
Rekol reminded the public that dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus which is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.
Symptoms of the disease – which normally occur two to three days after transmission, he noted, include a high fever, intense headache, body aches, joint pains, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, skin rashes and mucosal bleeding.
“If these symptoms occur, please don’t take generic medicine merely to cure the fever. The patients must seek medical treatment at a hospital immediately,” Rekol stressed.