The Public Health Ministry of Thailand has warned of a dengue-fever outbreak after reports that 20,000 people have been stricken during the past six months, 13 of them fatally.
Elderly people and children aged less than one year are most at risk of dengue-fever infection, the ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Paijit Warachit warned.
People who have a high fever, fatigue or stomach-ache, or vomit or cannot eat, should seek treatment,” Paijit said.
The continuing seasonal rainfall this year has increased the number of mosquitoes carrying the virus that causes dengue haemorrhagic fever.
Children below one year and elderly sufferers from chronic ailments — such as diabetes and high blood pressure — may develop severe symptoms after infection but are often unable to tell others of their illness.
According to Public Health Ministry records, from January to June, 23,324 people were infected with the dengue virus. Of this number, 13 succumbed to the disease.
The record also showed that 52 per cent of the total number of dengue cases were aged between 10 and 24 years. About 650 cases were children aged under one year, and 190 cases were aged over 65.
Aedes aegypti, a common species of mosquito, is the leading cause of this disease.
We found that more than 80 per cent of mortality from dengue fever during July and August, the peak season for the disease, was caused by this common household mosquito,” Paijit said.
Clinical Professor Siripen Kalayanarooj of the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health said the number of dengue infections had drastically increased among babies and the elderly in recent years.
The dengue fever virus strikes children easily, as they have a low level of immunity against it,” she said, even though they get some immunity from their mothers.
She said severe symptoms and mortality from dengue fever among elderly people, especially those who have congenital disease, were usually the result of a secondary infection.
She suggested that people who develop high fever for more than two days should undergo immediate diagnosis and treatment at hospital.
Aspirin and ibuprofen are not recommended to reduce fever or to treat the illness, as these two drugs could cause bleeding in the stomach, leading to death.
What You Should Know about Dengue Fever
- Dengue fever is a mosquito borne infection carried by several types of mosquito in the Aedes genus. The female of the species is usually the culprit and this particular mosquito is most active in the daytime particularly in the sunset hours.
- The mosquito once a carrier of dengue fever will remain so it’s entire life span.
- The mosquito will pass on the virus to any eggs it’s carrying at the time and the children be will also be carriers.
- There are 4 different types of dengue fever.
- The incubation period for dengue fever is 7-14 days.
- There is no immunization for dengue fever.
- Symptoms of dengue fever can include: A measles like rash, ocular headaches ( headache behind the eyes ), joint and muscle pain, loss of appetite, high fever, vomiting, dehydration, diarrhea and in more severe cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever, bruising and internal bleeding.
- Being infected with one strain of dengue fever gives you a lifelong immunity to that strain and a small short lived immunity to the other 3 strains.
- Being infected by dengue fever a second time highly increases your chances of the infection turning into the more dangerous dengue hemorrhagic fever.
- Dengue hemorrhagic fever doesn’t normally show up until the initial fever has subsided and you start to feel a little better.