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Experts warn dengue could spread further

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A child suffering from dengue fever is placed on a drip at the National Paediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Experts warn dengue could spread further

As the death toll from dengue fever has risen to at least 30 at Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals alone, health specialists have warned the disease could spread during the rainy season and urged parents to remain cautious, take good care of their children and protect them from being bitten by mosquitoes.

Ky Santy, the director of Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals, said as of July 1 at least 30 children out of more than 16,000 dengue fever patients who had been admitted to the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap had died from the virus.

Santy said the number of dengue fever patients has continued to rise remarkably, especially between the end of May and the beginning of July, despite the Ministry of Health’s efforts in preventing an outbreak.

He noted the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap province admit more than 4,000 patients per day, 700 of whom had dengue fever.

“The outbreak of dengue fever has caused great concerns. During this rainy season, the number of dengue patients will continue to increase. Cambodia has entered the year’s peak cycle for dengue so people need to be very careful about an outbreak,” he said.

Cambodia is not alone in witnessing the outbreak of dengue fever. A report issued by the World Health Organisation on April 15 said about 390 million people worldwide had contracted dengue fever, 96 million of whom were hospitalised for intensive care treatment.

In Cambodia, dengue fever has spread mostly in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kampong Thom, Kandal, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Preah Sihanouk.

The Ministry of Health has pushed its national- and local-level officials throughout the Kingdom to boost public awareness of dengue fever. It advised the public to keep their home environment clean using Abate larvicides and insect spray.

The ministry said most deaths resulted from parents’ failure to admit their sick children to hospital on time.

Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandin and Huy Rekol, the director of the Ministry of Health’s National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, were unavailable for comment on Thursday. Neither was Leang Rithea, the director of the National Dengue Control Program (NDCP).

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