Myanmar’s Public Health Department is calling for nationwide preventive measures against the spread of dengue fever after nearly 2,000 cases were reported in the first quarter of 2017, including nine fatal ones.
Priority for the measures will be given to schools in order to prevent rising cases among school-age children. Teams of teachers, students, and members of civil society organizations will be formed to sanitize and fumigate school compounds, cover water tanks, unclog sewage ditches, and set up a system for reporting dengue cases.
According to the department, Myanmar had 1,924 cases of dengue from the beginning of January through the first half of May. Yangon Region suffered the bulk of these cases with 1,014, followed by 247 in Mon State; 144 in Mandalay Region; 113 in Ayeyawady Region; 110 in Kayin State; 80 in Taninthayi Region; 78 in Rakhine State; 48 in Bago Region; 39 in Naypyidaw; 16 in Shan State; 14 in Magway Region; 11 in Kachin State; nine in Sagaing Region; and one in Kayah State.
Nine of these cases were fatal—five in Yangon, and one each in Sagaing, Bago, Rakhine, and Ayeyawady.
In the first quarter of 2010, hospitals treated 607 dengue cases, resulting in three deaths. In same period in 2011, there were 64 cases and no deaths; in 2012, there were 51 cases and no deaths; in 2013, there were 542 cases and one death; in 2014, there were 265 cases and two deaths; in 2015, there were 547 cases and two deaths; in 2016, there were 223 cases and four deaths.
This year, hospitals treated 964 cases, resulting in four deaths.
The Yangon Region Public Health Department has expressed concern that rising occurrences of dengue fever may reach epidemic levels.
Myanmar’s total number of dengue cases reported in 2016 was 9,149 cases, including 55 that were fatal.
According to Eleven, Myanmar experiences dengue epidemics every two to three years. The most recent ones were in 2007, 2011, 2013, and 2015.
The most effective way to avoid dengue infection is to avoid mosquito bites. This can be done by staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, wearing protective clothing, using mosquito repellent, and by reducing mosquito habitats.
Mosquitoes that carry dengue typically live near homes and breed in stagnant water.