Reports coming out of Thailand are saying incidences of Dengue fever are on the increase, so just to let you all know to be extra careful and wear that repellant and take precautions!
Taken from The Nation newspaper 9th February 2009
BANGKOK: -- The Public Health Ministry has set up a national war room to control the spread of dengue fever across the country after learning the situation will be far worse than last year.
So far, 1,675 people have fallen victim to the fever this year, said the Minister, Witthaya Kaewparadai.
The ministry's deputy permanent secretary, Dr Paijit Warachit will chair the war room - teaming up with agencies including the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's Health Department, the World Health Organisation, and a joint activity of the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, to monitor the spread of disease within Thailand and neighbouring countries.
They will meet at least once a week to keep a close watch on any possible outbreak.
Wittaya added he has assigned all provincial public health offices, local administration organisations and health volunteers to strictly control and monitor the transmission of dengue fever in local areas.
Local authorities have been advised to spray insecticide to eradicate the adult aedes aegypti mosquito, which bites humans in the daytime.
Residents should drain off any stagnant water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and use abates sand, a pesticide, to destroy their larvae.
Citing Bureau of Epidemiology records, Paijit said in January this year, 1675 people had been infected with dengue fever and two had died. The figure for the same period last year was 1,553 dengue fever cases reported and two lives lost.
The Central region was the hardest hit with 886 patients, the Southern region suffered the second worst outbreak with 546 patients and Bangkok, 303. Songkhla, Pattani, and Yala were the worst affected provinces. Nearly half the patients this year were over 15 years old.
Last year saw a total of 91,003 patients, with 65,581 cases in 2007.
In a bid for early detection of dengue fever infection, Wittaya said he has asked the Department of Medical Services to study a test kit to screen patients.
This month the Department of Disease Control will organise meetings to brainstorm on prevention and control planning in 30 high risk areas nation-wide.
Wittaya has asked the public to keep a close watch on people in their households and nurseries. If anyone develops a high fever over a two-day period, they should be taken to a doctor.
Tips to avoid Dengue
NB – I’m not a doctor of medicine.
There is at present no vaccine against or cure for Dengue fever.
Treatment is basic – rest, water and paracetamol – NO ASPIRIN
It lasts from 4 to 10 days
It is a virus transmitted by mozzie bites
The mozzie has to bite an infected person and then infect another person by biting tem. (A mozzie can live up to 4 months)
There are 4 types of dengue virus – so immunity to one doesn’t provide protection from the other.
Many people don’t report their illness from Dengue as it can be quite mild and go unnoticed or un-diagnosed.
Subsequent bouts of Dengue appear to be the more serious. Haemorrhagic (bleeding) Dengue can be fatal.
The only way to avoid Dengue is not to be bitten – to avoid this it helps to know a little about the animal you are trying to avoid.
The Aedes Mosquito that transmits Dengue is particularly at home in URBAN areas – it likes to breed in small pools of water – e.g. flower-pots, car tyres etc etc – don’t think because you are in a town or any particular area that you are lees at risk – Dengue is pretty much pandemic in Thailand.
Only the females feed on blood (and therefore bite humans), they only feed once every few hours (up to 24 hrs)
Multiple bites are usually from multiple mosquitoes – one may make several unsuccessful attempts – but just because you can’t see or hear others doesn’t mean they’re not there.
There is a theory (British Military) that we ALL get bitten more or less the same, it’s just that some people get a stronger reaction (e.g. itchy lump) to the bite – so no red marks, doesn’t necessarily mean no bites.
The Aedes Mozzie is regarded as a “daylight” flyer – and apparently the highest risk of being bitten is at dawn and dusk – these are times when humans can be least covered in clothing – either getting up or after a day in the sun.
The best thing to do is cover up – put on long-sleeved and long-legged light-coloured clothing. (There is a theory that many mosquitoes look for dark silhouettes to land on). – Don’t forget feet and ankles.
DEET is a proven repellent – buy a cream or spray that contains it – 30% is considered the maximum amount that works.
Mozzies are sensitive to CO2 – but don’t have a highly developed sense of smell – there is a lot of talk about diet etc that has no scientific proof.
Last year 2008 – the Thai govt claims that 10000 cases of dengue (Whether reported or estimated, I don’t know) – and there were 15 fatalities.
The risk of a tourist catching Dengue is really quite slim – and getting the serious symptoms is even less – if you do get it the incubation period is about one to two weeks so you may well be at home by then – just bear in mind that the virus is more common than ever before at present, and if you get ill suggest this to your Doctor.....he may overlook it at first.
Just cover-up and especially when you are off the beaten track.
I once got Dengue before on one of the southern islands and it is NOT nice, it's a bone killer - get out that repellent!
This gets pointed out time and again - you DON'T have to be off the beaten track - Dengue thrives in URBAN environments - your are just as likely to get it in Bkk or Pattaya as anywhere else.
In fact if anything it is easier to transmit in crowded environments as the mozzie has to fly from one person to another and it's range is limited to a few hundred meters