BANGKOK – Thailand is heading for a record-breaking number of dengue fever cases in 2013, with 44 people dead already from the mosquito-transmitted virus already.
The drastic rise in haemorrhage dengue fever cases has prompted the Public Health Ministry to launch a massive nationwide campaign to cope with the situation.
More than 23,000 schools nationwide have been instructed to eliminate mosquito-breeding sources such as water containers.
Revealing that about 50 per cent of the patients were children under-15, the Public Health Minister’s permanent secretary, Dr Narong Sahamethaphat, expressed his concern over the rising number of people suffering from dengue fever and said the situation was very critical.
Only the past week, some 4,000 people had been affected, double the number in the previous two weeks.
The haemorrhage dengue fever has affected people of all age groups.
The ministry estimates that 26 provinces are affected. Songkhla province has the highest number of deaths at seven, followed by Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surin, and Loei with three deaths in each province.
To reduce fatality from dengue fever, the ministry will launch a nationwide campaign, urging the public to eliminate mosquito-breeding places in communities. “We have to beef up our measures to get rid of mosquito-breeding places within 90 days,” Narong said.
Narong said strong cooperation from local authorities was needed to handle this critical situation. He also instructed medical workers at the ministry’s hospitals to stand by around the clock to provide timely treatments for haemorrhage dengue fever patients.
“People shouldn’t buy medicines like painkiller, inbuprofen, aspirin and steroid to relieve haemorrhage dengue fever symptoms on their own, as they could develop into a more severe condition,” Narong warned, adding the infected people should undergo treatments as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the ministry’s deputy permanent secretary Dr Sophon Methon, who oversees the dengue fever war room, said he had sent an official letter asking the Education Ministry to instruct 23,000 schools across the country to eliminate mosquito-breeding sources at least once a week.