PHUKET TOWN: The rising number of people contracting dengue fever has prompted Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) Chief Dr Wanchai Sattayawutthipong to issue a public health warning and to implement a mosquito culling program. Speaking at a press conference at Phuket Provincial Hall on Tuesday, Dr Wanchai said, “About 10 people in Phuket had dengue fever in February last year, but almost 30 people have contracted it [here] in February this year.” Dr Wanchai pointed out that all the reported cases of dengue fever this year have been Thais and that last year less than 5% of all reported cases were foreigners. However, the Phuket Gazette has learned of one case this year involving a foreigner. An Australian man who stayed for five weeks in Patong was diagnosed with dengue fever after his return home at the end of January, says his wife. To prevent an outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease, volunteers and public health officers from the Infectious Diseases Transmitted by Insects Center in Phang Nga are inspecting households for uncovered, stagnant water, where mosquitoes lay eggs. Depending on what the officers discover, they will mark the house with a red, green or yellow sticker. Red indicates mosquito larvae has been found, yellow indicates uncovered water without mosquito larvae, and green indicates no uncovered water and no mosquito larvae found. If mosquito larvae is discovered, a team of PPHO officers will spray the site with chemicals, and will return seven days later to spray a second time, to kill off any surviving larvae. The project began yesterday and will continue until March 7. Today, households in Kamala were inspected and sprayed. Other areas marked for inspection are Koh Kaew, Rassada, Wichit, Chalong, Karon, Rawai, Srisoontorn, Cherng Talay, Pa Khlok, Patong and Kathu. Dr Wanchai urged people to keep the areas around their houses clean and to change water in open containers every week.
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