Dengue fever sweeps through northeast Thailand; 7 deaths, over 9,000 diagnosed

Photo: Flickr/ Oregon State University
Photo: Flickr/ Oregon State University

A dengue fever outbreak in northeastern Thailand has the government on high alert.

At a meeting this morning, Ministry of Public Health Secretary Dr. Sukhum Kanchanapimai urged hospital directors, provincial public health doctors and related agencies to stay vigilant while revealing that 9,044 people had been diagnosed between Jan. 1 and March 5, with seven confirmed dead.

According to Workpoint, 5,555 of those diagnoses came in January alone — a number four times higher than last year’s 1,279 over the same period.

Especially alarming to the ministry is the fact that the outbreak is occurring outside of Thailand’s rainy season, when wet conditions typically lend themselves better to dengue’s spread.

With the goals to control and contain the growing outbreak, the Ministry of Public Health has ordered the the opening of the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) — a central command and control facility responsible for emergency and disaster management — and organized a system for referring patients to experts, reported Channel 7 News.

The EOC operates only during states of emergency. It has previously opened this year to deal with health issues caused by extreme air pollution and to assist citizens affected by tropical storm Pabuk.  

Additionally, the ministry is advising patients with dengue to contact their area’s health care facility, so a team can be dispatched to the patient’s home to destroy the mosquitoes’ breeding ground within three hours of the call.

Officials and volunteers will also spray the surrounding 100-meter radius area with chemicals that eliminate adult mosquitoes and continue doing so for 28 days.

“We need the collaboration of all citizens to look for mosquito breeding grounds in your home and destroy it… Organize your house so mosquitoes don’t hide in your cluster. Throw away your trash, waste containers, and don’t leave any open water exposed or change the water every week so no mosquitoes can lay eggs,” said Sukhum.

“This can help prevent three diseases: dengue fever, Zika and Chikungunya.”


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