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by Michael Bridge
The Thailand Bureau of Epidemiology reports 9,473 total dengue cases (7,390 dengue fever, 2006 dengue hemorrhagic fever and 77 dengue shock syndrome) from all 77 provinces through to July 11, 2022.
In addition, eight deaths have been reported.
The five provinces with the highest morbidity rates per 100,000 population is Mae Hong Son, Tak, Nan, Chiang Mai and Ranong.
Dengue fever outbreaks usually occur about once every two years, so Thailand is due to be hit by a wave of the virus this year.
“We have not suffered a full-scale outbreak of dengue fever for two years, which means Thais are now at their lowest immunity against the disease,” explained DDC director-general Dr Opas Kankawinpong.
Dengue cases decreased in Thailand in 2020 and 2021. Particularly in 2021, few dengue cases were reported. Regarding mosquito-borne diseases, malaria cases have reportedly increased, especially in African countries.
However, dengue cases may decrease or increase during a COVID-19 pandemic.
“The initial symptoms of dengue fever are similar to those of Covid-19,” said Opas.
“Now that Covid-19 is spreading in all regions of Thailand, it may be hard for patients and health professionals to differentiate between the two diseases.”
“If you have high fever, runny nose, sore throat, or muscle aches, please see a doctor to get a blood test for dengue fever. Many people with these symptoms think that they have Covid-19 and therefore only get the coronavirus test,” he said.
A patient can have both Covid-19 and dengue fever at the same time, and both diseases can be found in all age groups, he added.
Opas said most Covid-19 patients will eventually develop respiratory symptoms, while dengue patients will often lose their appetite and feel nauseous as the disease progresses.
The DDC advised people to use mosquito nets and rid their properties of any rainwater trapped in puddles or containers to reduce the chance of being bitten by dengue-infected mosquitos.
Back in June 2022, Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, presided over the opening of ASEAN Dengue Day 2022 with the theme of “ASEAN’s Resilience Against Dengue Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic: Harness Innovation to Stop Dengue.”
Mr. Anutin said, “ASEAN Dengue Day has been observed annually every 15th of June as a key public health concern in Thailand and ASEAN because it is an endemic disease throughout the region. Solving the problems of dengue fever requires cooperation from all sectors, especially people and communities, to help destroy the breeding grounds of mosquito larvae together with collection and prevention efforts.”
SE Asia also sees rise in cases
Vietnamese officials report ongoing elevated dengue fever activity during 2022, with 77,000 cases identified Jan. 1-June 24.
This case count is significantly higher than the activity reported during the same period of 2021, when roughly 35,000 cases were reported.
Most cases were reported in central and southern provinces, with Ho Chi Minh City most affected (16,057 cases). This report represents the most complete information available as of June 29.
Dengue fever is a nationwide and year-round threat in Vietnam, but the threat of infection is typically highest during and immediately following the rainy season, which occurs May-October in the north, June-November in the south, and September-December in central coastal areas.
It is believed that climate is a crucial factor for dengue transmission method.
A mathematical model for vector–host infectious disease was used to calculate the impacts of climate to the transmission of dengue virus.
Dengue infection in Vietnam is unstable but peaks from June to October annually.
Dengue morbidity per 100 000 population increased from 120 in 2009 (105 370 cases) to 194 in 2017(184 000 cases).
144% Jump in Dengue Fever cases in Philippine province
The province of Negros Oriental in the Philippines logged one new death due to dengue as cases continue to soar with the trend now being seen as “alarming”, a key official of the Provincial Health Office (PHO) said on Monday.
Records at the PHO showed that from January 1 to July 16, the province tallied 910 dengue cases, which is 144 percent higher compared to the 373 infections with zero deaths during the same period last year, she added.
“If this trend will continue, we will be seeing a potential outbreak and right now, this is already alarming,” Estacion said.
Health authorities there say 2022 is what they call an “epidemic year” given the three-year cycle in which dengue cases in the province spike based on previous trends and with the anopheles mosquito, the dengue virus carrier, being endemic to Negros Oriental.
A dengue fever vaccine is available in some countries.
It is only recommended for individuals with a history of dengue infection and in a country with high dengue fever burden.
Symptoms of dengue fever include a sudden onset of fever and at least one of the following: a severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, muscle and/or joint pain, rash, easy bruising, and/or nose or gum bleeding.
Symptoms typically appear 5-7 days after being bitten but can develop up to 10 days after exposure.
Dengue fever can progress to a more severe form known as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). DHF can be fatal if it is not recognized and treated promptly.
If you have previously been infected with dengue fever, consult with your physician regarding vaccination.
Avoid mosquito bites and remove standing water to reduce the number of biting mosquitoes.
Seek medical attention if symptoms develop within two weeks of being in affected areas.
Do not use aspirin or ibuprofen products if dengue fever is suspected, as these could exacerbate bleeding tendencies associated with the disease.
(Source: – Asean Now)