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Nation Needs To Focus On Fight Against Dengue Fever

Source: Vientiane Times

Health authorities say officials and the public have achieved excellent results in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, but Laos now needs to prevent an outbreak of a virulent form of dengue fever this rainy season.

Director-General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control at the Ministry of Health, Dr Rattanaxay Phetsavanh gave the advice about preventing dengue fever during the daily COVID-19 press conference in Vientiane on Monday.

While the government has supported workers returning from Thailand with better access to quality health services during the COVID-19 outbreak, the country was reporting increased dengue infection rates this year.

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“It is unfortunate that all these plagues are disrupting the health of people and the economies of countries worldwide. But one of the most infectious diseases to haunt Southeast Asia including Laos for decades is dengue fever,” he said.

All provinces have set up special taskforces to combat dengue. All stagnant water is being removed to prevent dengue-carrying mosquitoes from breeding.

If people fall ill, they should suspect that dengue may be the cause of their illness and get a blood test at a hospital, he said.

Dr Rattanaxay stressed the need for correct diagnosis and effective treatment to be administered.

The National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology reported recently that so far this year there have been 3,360 dengue fever cases which have resulted in 8 deaths. Vientiane is taking the brunt of the outbreak with 721 cases and three deaths recorded. Borikhamxay province has recorded 389 cases and two deaths, Khammaun has reported 227 cases and one death while Xayaboury has recorded 148 cases and one death.

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Health authorities advise that every family should throw out water that collects in jars, vases, and dishes and should cover such vessels to prevent more water from filling them up.

According to a Ministry of Health report, five simple measures are advised as being the most effective method of dengue control. These are being practised by households in Laos and other Asean countries where dengue is prevalent.

These measures consist of closing and sealing all unused containers, flushing out all water vessels, placing small guppy fish in water jars as these eat mosquito larvae, cleaning areas around homes, and, finally, remembering to do these four tasks each week.