CHIANG RAI – The Public Health Ministry has expressed deep concerns over the dengue fever outbreak during the rainy season as the number of patients may surpass 100,000 this year.
According to the ministry, Thailand has recorded a threefold increase in infections, with over 73,000 cases reported. So far, 73 people across the country have been killed by the virus.
The number of infected patients usually spikes around July and August when the rainy climate is ideal for the breeding of mosquitoes.
The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported that Chiang Rai documented the highest number of cases at 2,004, followed by Chiang Mai at 1,390. There have been more cases reported amongst people aged 15 to 24, and a number of residents believe the disease afflict young children more frequently.
More than 4,000 cases were documented in Bangkok as of mid-June, while the Northeast saw 5,406 people diagnosed with dengue, with 5 deaths reported. If treated early enough, dengue is not necessarily fatal, although second and third contractions are more likely to lead to death. Patients with two days of flu-like symptoms including high fever, bleeding gums, nausea, headache, and a rash are advised to consult physicians immediately.
Health minister Dr Pradit Sinthawanarong earlier made known that the quick spread of dengue fever can be attributed to an influx of infected patients from neighbouring countries who travelled to Thailand to seek medical treatment.
The Public Health Ministry has so far urged all related agencies to step up prevention measures, including using mosquito-killer sprays and eliminating all mosquito breeding grounds. Members of the public have been cautioned to clear areas of standing water, particularly in schools, which provide breeding grounds for mosquitos.
The ministry has also encouraged local governments to establish incentives for people to stay on top of spots in their homes that could provide opportunities for mosquitos to breed, removing standing water in old pots and receptacles that collect water.
According to the U.S.’ Center for Disease Control, 100 million people are infected by the virus each year.