Dengue-related deaths have dropped 71 per cent during the first nine months of this year when compared to the same period last year, according to officials at the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control.
While 157 died because of dengue in 2012, only 45 deaths have been recorded by government officials during the same period this year.
Dr Char Meng Chuor, director of the centre, told the Post that between January and September this year, the decrease in dengue-related deaths was considerable, citing 15,193 cases compared with 36,958 cases during the same period last year.
“We will continue working hard to prevent this disease, even if it decreases,” Meng Chuor said yesterday.
Dr Chantha Ngan, director of the Ministry of Health’s anti-dengue program, said the drop was due to protracted efforts to crack down on the disease, but also possibly tied to the unusually rainy year, which serves as a way to “flush out standing water”.
But the numbers remain sobering. In Cambodia, like in other poorer countries, cases are likely under-reported because tracking hinges on the number of patients recorded by local hospitals. Anyone too weak to travel or unable to pay out-of-pocket medical fees won’t make the final count.
Previous years point to outbreaks beginning in April and May, peaking from August to September and typically diminishing in correlation with the rainy season, a pattern that varies in severity by province.
Dr Ngan called for continued vigilance on the part of citizens during the rainy season.
“Flooding during the rainy season can often help flush out sitting water being used as breeding grounds but small [water] containers near homes can still spread the disease,” he said.