The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised all people to maintain environmental hygiene around their homes as Cambodia is facing an outbreak of dengue fever. The first 11 weeks of the year saw over 1,300 dengue cases, including four deaths.

In an April 18 social media post, the CDC advised that in cases where people are experiencing symptoms such as a high fever, they should contact the 115 hotline immediately.

With the rainy season beginning, health officials are concerned that there could be an explosion in the number of dengue cases.

“Please clean up the environment around your homes and eliminate all sources of standing water. Report immediately when people run a high fever in your communities,” the CDC stated.

National Dengue Control Programme (NDCP) director Leang Rithea said on April 20 that the first 11 weeks of this year have seen over 1,300 cases of dengue fever and four deaths, a threefold increase over the same period last year.

Citing the NDCP, he estimated that the total number of dengue cases in the whole of 2023 may rise to over 20,000 versus the 12,900 recorded last year.

“Dengue cases increase this year because it is the peak year in the dengue outbreak cycle. Therefore, I am very worried although the health ministry has spread information of dengue fever and prevention methods,” he stated.

Rithea said that large dengue outbreaks are cyclical and occur approximately every five years.

“We are very worried about such a dramatic increase in dengue cases. Therefore, myself as the NDCP director, the health minister and our development partners are trying to be very active in countering this rise,” he said.

Rithea added that the Ministry of Health has also readied 200 tonnes of the anti-dengue mosquito larvicide Abate, over 60,000 serums and nearly 5,000 litres of mosquito repellent spray.

They have also begun disseminating dengue fever preventive messages on social media platforms, the radio and TV so that people will be aware of the messages and help contain the spread of dengue fever this year.

According to the NDCP, 2022 had seen over 12,500 cases of dengue fever and 19 deaths, representing a six-fold increase over the previous year, which had only 1,811 cases of dengue fever with eight deaths recorded.