Dengue infection prevalent in adults

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A man fumigates a classroom in South Okkalapa Township. Photo: Aye Min Soe

Dengue haemorrhagic fever has occurred among adults in recent years and adult dengue deaths have been confirmed, said Dr Zaw Lin, deputy director of the dengue and elephantiasis programme, operating under the Ministry of Health and Sports.
The Yangon Region 2018 Dengue awareness campaigns and prevention measures event held at Summit Park View Hotel discussed the fatal fever and infection among adults yesterday.
A total of 2,314 cases of of dengue fever were recorded from 1 January to 31 May in 2018 across the country.
“Dengue fever is a life-threatening infection, most commonly occurring among children and adolescents. Now, even some adults are being affected,” he said.
Dengue fever primarily occurs in children aged between 5 and 9 years. Currently, dengue has become a fatal disease for babies, as well as adults.
Of the over 31,000 patients with dengue fever, 192 died, including 27 adolescents and adults, last year.
Dengue fever manifests itself among adults in a different manner. Therefore, the adult guidelines for dengue fever, which have already been developed, will be sent to doctors.
Earlier, dengue fever mostly broke out in the rainy season. However, now it occurs throughout the year. The outbreak of dengue infections has increased compared to the previous years. The Yangon Region recorded the highest outbreak of dengue fever with five confirmed deaths, said Dr. Zaw Lin.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease, transmitted by a mosquito bite. Overcrowding and poor sanitation are the main factors contributing to the rapid spread of dengue infection. People must control parasites and dengue mosquitoes. Ensuring environmental sanitation is necessary and discarded domestic pots and tyres that are the breeding sites for the dengue virus-carrying Aedes mosquitoes must be disposed of, said Dr. Zaw Lin.
Public health staff, municipality staff, Red Cross Society’s members, education staff, officials of the General Administration Department, and ward administrators, as well as civil service organisations play an important role in combating dengue. Further, public participation is of importance.
“I appreciate public participation in certain townships. But I’m not satisfied with some townships. We need the active participation of the Pyithu Hluttaw representatives, ward administrators and Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association(mmcwa). The public heath department is facing staff shortage and so, we cannot spread awareness among the public effectively,” said Dr. Than Than Lwin, acting head of the Yangon City Development Committee’s health department.
“The Hlinethaya Township has a population of nearly 1 million people, whereas the number of public health staff is in single digits. We have been conducting prevention measures, together with the General Administration Department, MMCWA, Red Cross Society and the Hluttaw representatives. I am not happy with the lack of public participation, as it is critical to combat dengue infection. This being so, I would like to encourage the public to join our precaution and prevention measures,” said Dr Khin Yupa Soe, head of Hlinethaya Public Health Department.
Timely information concerning dengue fever is important for public hospitals and private clinics to carry out effective dengue vector management. The equipment for dengue vector control, such as the fogging machine, require funds for gasoline, diesel and transport.
The Health and Sports Ministry this year has provided abate, fogging machines, dengue test kits, malathion, pamphlets and vinyls. Dengue awareness campaigns have been conducted in 41 townships, as of May. The dengue vector prevention measures covered 2,100 schools and over 600 wards and villages.
Additionally, the health ministry will form region-, district- and township-level dengue combating committees and rapid response teams. It will assign staff to collect data on dengue patients admitted to region and state hospitals. It will also raise dengue awareness campaigns in dengue vector management and school projects to ensure more public participation.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Dengue mosquitoes often bite in the afternoon. There is no cure yet but many researchers are testing vaccines for the virus. Fatality can be reduced if dengue is treated early.


By May Thet Hnin

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