PHUKET: Reported cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) in the province during the first ten months of 1998 have surpassed the combined total of the past three years. Provincial Health Officer Dr Boonriang Chuchaisangrat told the Gazette today that 755 cases of the mosquito-borne virus were documented by his department through the end of October. The ten-month total is more than double the 370 cases recorded for all of 1995 – the highest annual total over the past seven years. Health officials recorded 97 DHF cases in 1996 and 264 cases in 1997. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Health classified the outbreak of DHF as an epidemic in all 76 Thai provinces. In response, local health officers undertook a proactive campaign to eradicate the breeding grounds of the aedes aegypti mosquito, the carrier of the DHF virus. Planters, small containers, and fallen coconut shell husks with standing rain water are used by the mosquito for breeding. Dr Supranee Tharasiriroj of Phuket International Hospital told the Gazette that heavy rains have contributed to the dramatic rise in reported DHF cases. From January 1 through November 15, 1998, Phuket has received 2,784 millimeters of rain, most of which has fallen since May.
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