The latest dengue fever outbreak in Thailand is “the worst in five years” with more than 22,000 patients – 30 of whom have died – reported so far, Disease Control Department director-general Dr Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai said yesterday.
Another 13 deaths are now being studied to determine if they were caused by the virus.
The top five provinces with the highest numbers of patients are Bangkok (1,678), Nakhon Ratchasima (1,420), Nakhon Si Thammarat (1,050), Ubon Ratchathani (948) and Chon Buri (800), Suwanchai said.
“The greatest problem is in the Northeast, especially in the Ninth Health Area [covering Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Buri Ram and Surin provinces] and the 10th Health Area [Mukdahan, Yasothon, Si Sa Ket, Ubon Ratchathani and Amnat Charoen), which reported several dengue-related deaths,” he said.
He added that the East and Greater Bangkok also had a high number of dengue patients, adding that the number of patients in the first five months of 2019 are twice the number of dengue cases in all of last year.
Most serious strain
The mosquito-borne seasonal viral infection is caused by four serotypes – DENV 1, DENV 2, DENV 3 and DENV 4 – and most patients in Thailand suffer from the most serious strain DENV 2, Suwanchai said. Hence, he said, people should rush to a doctor if they have high fever for two to five days or other symptoms such as a headache, eye pain, vomiting, dry cough or a skin rash.
He has also called on clinics and pharmacies to not prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicines to those with high fever, in order to prevent the risk of fatal complications. He also urged related agencies to destroy mosquito larvae incubation grounds.
The Disease Control Department’s report cited that from January to May 22, there had been 22,203 dengue fever patients and 28 deaths – double the previous whole year’s figures of 11,704 patients and 16 deaths.
There were 11,062 patients and 19 deaths in 2017; 17,614 patients and 16 deaths in 2016; and 16,171 patients in 10 deaths in 2015.
This year, 1,513 patients were in the 0-4 age group with four deaths; 8,988 patients aged 5 to 14 age with 10 deaths; 8,310 aged 15 to 34 with 10 deaths, 2,747 aged 35 to 59 with four deaths; and 645 above 60 with no deaths, the report read.
(Source: – The Nation)