In a little more than six months, dengue fever cases have risen to nearly 3,000 and killed several people. This was a threefold increase over the same period last year, according to the National Dengue Control Programme (NDCP).

NDCP director Leang Rithea said that from January 1 to July 10, NDCP had recorded 2,869 cases and seven deaths, mostly children.

He attributed his year’s increase to climate change, saying that frequent rainfall meant an increase in standing water – the breeding ground for the mosquitoes that carry the disease.

“We know that it rained more this year. There are several factors contributing to the increase in cases –climate change, heat, humidity, rainfall. Ultimately, the more it rains, the more mosquitoes there are,” he added.

Rithea said that despite the increases, the NDCP had brought it under control by working with many partners, especially local authorities.

“Kampong Speu, Kandal, Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces have recorded the most cases, but the numbers appear to be decreasing,” he said.

He added that NDCP would continue to lay out measures to educate people, distribute the anti-dengue larvicide Abate and carry out spraying operations, with a particular focus on infected locations.

Kampong Thom provincial health department director Srey Sin said that as of the 28th week of the year, the province had recorded 77 dengue cases – similarly to previous years.

He said that cases had increased over the last two months, and he expected them to grow more.

“There tends to be an outbreak every three years, and we are due for another. We started seeing more and more cases in May and June. I expect them to increase in July and August,” he said.

He added that despite the increase in infections, no deaths were recorded in the province.

“Dengue causes a sudden fever and acute pains in the joints. It is transmitted by mosquitoes, so we are reminding people to make sure they don’t have standing water around their homes. Old car tyres and forest pools are common places where mosquitoes breed. When local authorities request it, we are ready to conduct disinfection and spraying operations in places where many cases are reported,” he said.

The provincial health departments of Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri on July 8 cleaned up several sites that were potential mosquito breeding grounds, while also issuing warnings to local residents.

“NDCP has prepared 70,000 serums and has 9,000 litres of mosquito spray in stock. We have received 200 tonnes of the anti-dengue larvicide Abate, which we will add to the 200-tonne stockpile remaining from last year’s wet season. We have the materials we need to control this year’s dengue situation,” said Rithea.