Dengue fever now at 230 new cases a day

PHUKET: Seven people died from dengue fever last week, two of them from Phuket’s neighboring province Krabi.

The other five fatalities came one each from Chiangrai, Phetchabun, Lop buri, Chachoengsao and Nakhon Si Thammarat.

The new fatalities bring to 70 the number of dengue fever deaths recorded across Thailand to date this year, it was announced by Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit yesterday.

Some 60,000 people have caught the disease this year – 83% more than last year, with an average of 230 new cases detected every day.

The outbreak is so severe that Jurin has instructed provincial health chiefs to monitor and control it, as well as urging people with “suspicious” symptoms to see doctors immediately.

The regional breakdown for the disease thus far in 2010 is: 14,361 cases in the South, including Phuket; 15,871 in the Central region; 8,843 cases in the North; and 15,517 cases in the Northeast.

Of these, seven patients were less than 28 days old and 409 were over 65 years.

Narathiwat had the highest dengue fever patient increase in the first two weeks of this month – 354 cases, Jurin said, followed by Phayao, Krabi, Chiang Rai, Rayong, Songkhla, Pattani, Phattalung, and Trat.

In the southern region, Phuket, Trang and Pattani had the most larva breeding grounds. The disease has long been associated with rubber plantations. Phuket is a major producer of latex and rubber tappers are known to be particularly at risk.

Jurin urged officials in Phuket to spray all areas where mosquito larvae might incubate.

The chief of the 11th Disease Control Office in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Dr Panumas Yanawetsakul, said dengue fever in the southern province was so severe that Maharat Hospital and district hospitals could not provide sufficient beds for the patients, some of whom were placed in hallways.

Seven provinces in the South had been hit hard by the disease, with 13 people having died so far this year – 9 in Nakhon Si Thammarat and 4 in Krabi.

Though currently facing a heavy load of dengue fever cases, no deaths have been recorded in Phuket to date this year.

— Nation / Gazette Reporters

Phuket News
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