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Dengue Fever

Dengue fever outbreak sickens nearly 6,000 Thai kids

Jack Burton

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Dengue fever outbreak sickens nearly 6,000 Thai kids | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Medical News Today

While the Covid-19 outbreak is easing in Thailand, there is growing alarm over a nationwide outbreak of dengue fever, which has sickened nearly 6,000 children already this year. On June 2, Thailand had recorded 15,385 cases of dengue fever, which killed 11 people, according to the director-general of the Department of Disease Control.

More than a third of those cases, 5,828, have been children aged 5 – 14, 4 of whom died. Delaying treatment, underlying medical conditions and obesity all increase the chances of the mosquito-borne virus being fatal.

A recent investigation found mosquito larvae are still prevalent at Thai school campuses, some which are set to reopen on Monday as more Emergency Decree restrictions are lifted. Most were found in unused containers, plant pots, and old tyres, places where stagnant water is allowed to collect.

“The rainy season, which creates puddles of water that serve as breeding grounds for mosquitos, is the main factor that is boosting the outbreak. I would like to ask people to look out for unused containers that might become breeding grounds in households.”

Health officials in Isaan’s Ubon Ratchathani province revealed they’ve recorded 800 cases of dengue so far this year, a small number compared to the 8,000 with 10 deaths recorded last year, but still cause for worry, according to the DDC.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Dengue Fever

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand’s rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests

Caitlin Ashworth

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Lockdown may contribute to Thailand’s rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikipedia

Social distancing and lockdown measures may have contributed to a rise in dengue fever in Thailand, according to a recent study funded by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council.

Researchers, which included scientists from the University of Singapore, examined dengue fever cases in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. No impact on the dengue transmission was found in Malaysia or Singapore, but in Thailand, they found that social distancing may lead to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases. They say the largest impact is in Bangkok Researchers say social distancing is expected to lead to 4.32 additional dengue fever cases per 100,000 people in Thailand each month.

Many people in Thailand stayed at home during lockdown measures put in place to control the spread to the coronavirus, but the study found that people in Thailand are typically bitten by dengue-carrying mosquitos at home rather than at work. Some people even travelled back home to their home provinces to be with their families during the lockdown period.

“Although it is possible for dengue infections to occur in workplaces, it was found in one study that 60% of dengue cases live less than 200m apart came from the same transmission chain, revealing that residential areas are a focal point of transmission.”

Reported dengue fever cases in 2019

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand's rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | News by The Thaiger

Reported dengue fever cases in 2020

Lockdown may contribute to Thailand's rise in dengue fever cases, study suggests | News by The Thaiger

To read the full study click HERE.

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Dengue Fever

Dengue fever surges 400% in Northern Thailand province compared to 2019

Maya Taylor

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Dengue fever surges 400% in Northern Thailand province compared to 2019 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Tripsavvy.com

The northern province of Mae Hong Son has become a dengue fever hotspot as the number of cases more than quadruple compared to the case numbers of last year. The northern province currently has the Kingdom’s highest number of cases of the mosquito-borne illness, recording nearly 1,400 infections and 1 death.

Mae Hong Son health chief, Supachai Boon-Amphan, says the current infection rate in the province is nearly 500 in every 100,000 people. Nation Thailand reports that the 10-14 year old age group has the most cases, followed by those aged 15 to 24. Most are farmers or students, with the sub-district of Mae Sariang having the highest number of cases in the province, at 863.

It’s understood the recent heavy rains have left many areas waterlogged, creating the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Check out about some common ways to avoid getting a case of Dengue Fever.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Dengue fever antibodies might contribute to Thailand’s low Covid-19 count

Caitlin Ashworth

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Dengue fever antibodies might contribute to Thailand’s low Covid-19 count | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr

Antibodies from dengue fever might raise immunity against Covid-19, according to study done in Brazil. It suggests a correlation between the mosquito transmitted illness and the coronavirus, citing lower Covid-19 cases in areas with past dengue outbreaks, like south east Asia. Thai doctor Manoon Leechawengwongs says this might be why Thailand has significantly less Covid-19 cases than other countries around the world.

Since the start of the outbreak, many scientists have been confused by south east Asia’s generally low infection rate and posited various theories about some local “immunity”.

Thailand has more than 100,000 dengue patients every year, he says, adding that many locals take the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis to prevent dengue. There have been 3,545 Covid-19 cases in Thailand with 59 deaths and 3,369 recoveries.

Duke University professor Miguel Nicolelis led the study and recently spoke to Reuters reporters about his findings. He says the study first focused on the spread of Covid-19 in Brazil and they came across the correlation between dengue and the coronavirus by accident. The study says areas in Brazil with high numbers of dengue infections had a comparatively low number Covid-19 cases while areas with low numbers of dengue cases had a high number of Covid-19 cases.

“This striking finding raises the intriguing possibility of an immunological cross-reactivity between dengue’s Flavivirus serotypes and SARS-CoV-2 … If proven correct, this hypothesis could mean that dengue infection or immunization with an efficacious and safe dengue vaccine could produce some level of immunological protection (against the coronavirus).”

Miguel adds past studies found that those with dengue antibodies can falsely test positive for Covid-19.

“This indicates that there is an immunological interaction between two viruses that nobody could have expected, because the two viruses are from completely different families.”

The study was posted on MedRxiv, but has not yet been peer reviewed. Manoon warns that Thai people should still abide by coronavirus prevention measures to prevent a possible second wave.

Click HERE to read the study on how dengue fever may have influenced the spread of Covid-19 in Brazil.

SOURCES: Reuters | Nation Thailand |Worldometer

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