Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dengue infections down but govt ‘remains alert’

After a record dengue fever outbreak nationally and regionally last year, health officials say the number of cases so far this year have dipped.

From the first of the year to June 11, a total of 1236 people were hospitalised with dengue fever nationwide, according to Ministry of Health and Sports data, a marked decline compared with the rate over the same period last year.

Yangon Region admitted the most patients, at 390, while Tanintharyi Region came in second, with 227 cases. Rounding out the top three was Mandalay Region, where 154 people were infected. Most of the patients were children between five and nine years old.

Six patients have died from the mosquito-borne illness this year.

Dr Zaw Lin, a dengue control project manager, told The Myanmar Times that the infection rate marked a notable drop-off from same period last year, when some 6000 dengue cases were reported.

He added, “The dengue infection rate has decreased this year because of last year’s disease infection control [measures]. But people should not be careless and the government remains alert. So we are doing more dengue preventative activities since the first months of this year. We have funding for disease control materials and increased activities.”

Dr Zaw Lin said Myanmar’s government this year has more prevention and control equipment in place than last year, including machines to spray insecticide.

Dr Myint Myint Khine, a medical superintendent of Yangon Children’s Hospital, confirmed that this year has seen fewer dengue patients, but she similarly sounded a cautionary note as Myanmar’s monsoon season kicks into full gear, bringing more of the standing water that mosquitoes need to reproduce.

She said the infection rate was likely to rise in the coming months compared with the January-to-June period.