DCD predicts a fourfold jump in dengue and malaria victims in Thailand this year
The government’s Disease Control Department (DCD) reckons Thailand will see a huge jump in malaria and dengue fever cases this year.
The Director-General of the DCD, Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, believes the number of malaria and dengue fever sufferers will increase significantly by at least three or four times more than last year.
“There were 10,174 cases last year, three times the cases in 2021 and 45,145 dengue fever cases, an increase of 4.5 times the figure in the same year.
“Thirty-one people died of dengue fever and two from malaria last year.
“Most of the malaria cases were found in Tak, Mae Hong Son, and Kanchanaburi provinces. Some 1,370 cases of chikungunya disease were found, although there were no fatalities, but the cases were double those of a year ago.”
DCD Deputy Director-General Dr Sophon Iamsirithavorn urges those who experience any illness after a mosquito bite to consult a doctor instead of self-medicating with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs from pharmacies, reported Thai PBS.
“Diseases associated with bites from various species of mosquitos include dengue fever, malaria, Zika, chikungunya, meningitis, and elephantiasis.
“Protection from mosquito bites and eradication of mosquito breeding grounds are effective methods to prevent the diseases.”
Dr Sophon emphasized the importance of using chemicals to control mosquito populations during outbreaks of associated diseases but stressed the need for proper regulation.
The Division of Vector-Borne Diseases reported that fumigation using ultra-low volume chemicals has been effective in trials, with a 90% reduction in mosquito populations observed in areas such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phichit, Nakhon Pathom, Udon Thani, Phang Nga, and Songkhla.
Dengue fever is common in Southeast Asia, especially during the wet season when the transmission rates are higher. It’s a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes a severe flu-like illness. It causes fever, body aches, headaches, and a skin rash with red spots. In some cases, the viral infection may cause a potentially lethal complication known as severe dengue or Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.
A dengue vaccination will protect individuals from illness while mosquito repellents are also encouraged.
Like dengue, the risk of malaria increases during the wet season. Malaria is caused by a parasite that is spread to humans through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. The symptoms include high fever, chills, headache, fatigue, and general discomfort.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease that can lead to mental confusion, severe seizures, coma, and even death. Therefore, those experiencing symptoms need to seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Large cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya are relatively free from the risk of malaria but more remote areas in Thailand are still vulnerable to the disease. Travellers need to be extra careful when travelling to provinces that border Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos, as well as Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, and Pattani.
It is advised to take preventive antimalarial medication before and while travelling to high-risk areas. Anti-mosquito bite measures, such as insect repellent or a mosquito bed net, are highly recommended.
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