Thailand On Alert As Dengue Fever Cases Rise
BANGKOK, May 4 (Bernama) --Thailand's Ministry of Public Health is on full alert to prevent the spread of dengue fever after the disease claimed four lives so far this year, and the number of dengue fever patients nationwide has risen to 6,000, TNA reported.
The focus of the outbreak is in Trat province, 400 km southeast of Bangkok on the Cambodian border, and in the southern most provinces along the Malaysian border.
Trat has almost five times the frequency of the disease -- 46 patients per 100,000 population -- compared to the national average of 10 per 100,000, according to Public Health Minister Mongkol Na Songkhla, while Pattani experiences 42 per 100,000 and Yala has 33 per 100,000 residents.
Earlier than usual rains has meant that dengue is a greater concern this year than before, Dr Mongkol was quoted as saying. The insurgency in the far South means that anti-mosquito measures are more difficult to apply.
More breeding grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes emerged during the rainy season, he explained, especially in the three southernmost provinces where heavier rainfall contributes to a higher population of mosquitoes than in the country's other regions.
Dr Mongkol said that the outbreak could become a severe problem in the border provinces as health officials can't implement pro-active strategies to fight the disease due to the ongoing violence.
The number of dengue fever patients is normally higher from May to August due to the rainy season. So far there have been 6,070 dengue fever patients in the first four months of this year.
The nationwide ratio amounted to nearly 10 patients per 100,000 persons in the population, he said. However, almost 1,000 new dengue fever cases have been reported in the past two weeks.
The highest concentration of dengue fever patients was reported in the eastern province of Trat with the ratio of 46:100,000, followed by the southern provinces of Pattani at 42: 100,000 and Yala at 33: 100,000 respectively.
The public health minister said he ordered health officials to work closely with local authorities to prevent the further spread on any outbreak.
BERNAMA May 4, 2007