Source: Vientiane Times
The number of reported dengue fever cases in Laos is up this year, and health officials and medical staff across the country are working to build public understanding of the dangers of this potentially deadly disease.
More than 4,000 cases of dengue were recorded from January to June 26, while four people have died from the virus, the Ministry of Health’s National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology reported on Monday.
The report stated that the highest number of cases occurred in Vientiane at 2,145, while 572 cases were reported in Saravan province, 324 in Attapeu, and 220 in Xekong province.
Of the four deaths, two were recorded in Vientiane and two in Saravan. Other regions have not reported any fatalities due to dengue, according to the Department of Communicable Disease Control under the Ministry of Health.
Meanwhile, health authorities are urging people to clear potential mosquito breeding sites around their homes and places of work to help curb the spread of the virus.
An official from the Vientiane Health Department on Monday told Vientiane Times about the division’s plans to keep dengue at bay and prevent a widespread outbreak in the capital.
Health authorities have admitted their concerns about the number of dengue fever cases recorded this year, he said, adding that Laos faces challenges in reining in the spread of the virus.
As the number of dengue fever infections continue to rise, health experts are meeting every Monday to discuss possible interventions to lower the number of cases.
“We acknowledge that raising public awareness is one of the main strategies in lowering dengue transmission,” the official said.
The clearance of mosquito breeding grounds is aimed at long-term dengue prevention and is vital to combatting the disease. In particular, communities need to keep their surroundings clean, while trying to reduce mosquito populations, get rid of larvae, and prevent more eggs being laid in stagnant water.
The year 2013 was particularly challenging in terms of dengue cases, with 15 out of 17 provinces reporting dengue at epidemic levels. In all, 95 people died out of the reported 44,171 people who contracted the disease.
According to the World Health Organisation, dengue fever is one of the fastest-growing diseases and one of the most rapidly spreading infectious diseases, with high incidences often seen in Thailand, Laos, the Philippines, and Singapore.