This is peak dengue season, and we need to remain vigilant after floods to prevent the outbreak of mosquito-borne disease.
Flooding in some parts of Myanmar has forced local people to move to temporary shelters and makeshift after rising waters inundated low-lying areas.
The victims are at risk from water and mosquito-borne infectious diseases, including malaria, diarrhea, and dengue fever.
Myanmar has experienced more frequent outbreaks of dengue, especially during rainy season, with less gaps in between cases. Instead of cases occurring mainly in the rainy season, for the past five years it has been happening year-round.
The main reasons, according to experts, are climate change and a higher breeding rate of the Aedes mosquito. Another reason for the more frequent occurrence of dengue is the habit of Myanmar people to store water, increasing the number of places where mosquitoes can breed.
Local authorities and health officials are advised to be ready for helping to treat the disease and to train volunteers on how to fumigate potential breeding sites and to spread messages to communities about dengue prevention.
If required, we should be ready to deliver mosquito nets to flood victims to help prevent any potential outbreaks in flood-hit areas.
To reduce the loss of life due to water-borne infectious diseases, an immediate flood response that includes surveillance for infectious diseases, particularly dengue, is very important. Fast response to an outbreak is required.
The most effective way to prevent the disease is public participation in preventive measures against the disease.
People are urged to participate in prevention activities by keeping the homes and environment clean every day and make sure there is no water left for the insects to breed.
The Aedes mosquito is active during the day, a time when people need to protect themselves from mosquito bites. The symptoms of dengue are high fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain, vomiting and rashes. Dengue fever victims need emergency treatment if the patient is unconscious with a body that is cool to the touch.
According to the WHO, over 100 million people are infected with dengue fever across the world each year, 500,000 of whom are ill enough to require hospitalisation. The outbreak of dengue fever has increased over 30 per cent across the world between 1960 and 2010.
In 2015, there were a total of 42,913 cases of dengue fever in Myanmar, resulting in 140 deaths, But 2016 saw these figures drop to just 10,770 cases and 58 deaths, evidence that eradication and educational efforts were working.
But this year, there is evidence that further work is needed. We must remain vigilant in our efforts.