Thailand No 2 in Asia for Dengue Fever victims

Dengue is widespread throughout the tropics, with variations in risk influenced by rainfall, temperature and unplanned rapid urbanisation.

The estimated economic burden of dengue to Thailand has risen dramatically in recent years and is now costing up to Bt290 million, ranking the country in second place in Asean after Indonesia.

In an attempt to bring the figures down, the Asian Society for Paediatrics is taking the opportunity of Asean Dengue Day to launch a United Fight Against Dengue campaign aiming to raise awareness about prevention, lower incidence by 25 per cent and reduce the mortality rate by 50 per cent in 2020.

The campaign is being headlined by the Society’s president Prof Usa Thisyakorn in partnership with the president of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of Thailand, Prof Dr Tawee Chotpitayasunondh and the President of the Infectious Disease Association of Thailand, Prof Terapong Tantavichien.

Their research has shown that most new cases are identified in the 10 to 30 age group, and that the same old four serotypes are responsible for the virus.

They refute claims that a new serotype has emerged, blaming false reporting for spreading panic among people. Dr Terapong says the severity can be the result of many factors and points out that many patients are not in rush to go to see the doctor when they start getting sick as symptoms are similar to the flu.

Dr Tawee notes that while Thailand’s mortality rate is the lowest among the Asean countries, there is much need for concern because of the severity of the disease.

Dengue is widespread throughout the tropics, with variations in risk influenced by rainfall, temperature and unplanned rapid urbanisation.

Prevention is best medicine and so, the experts say, don’t let yourself get bitten by mosquitoes, empty water from places where mosquitoes breed such as unused utensils, trash cans and flower pots.

Other preventive measures include wearing long pants and long-sleeve shirts or using a mosquito repellent containing DEET when visiting places where dengue is endemic.

Avoid areas with standing water and stay indoors in the morning until two hours after sunrise and at sunset to further reduce your risk of being bitten.

Or be vaccinated against the disease. Efficacy is around 65.6 per cent and is most viable for those aged nine to 45 years. – The Nation

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