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Dengue cases spike in Thailand

Dengue cases in Thailand (<a href="http://pictures.irinnews.org/images/2010/originals/201007280948150433.jpg" target="_blank"><strong><font color=#006699>See larger version of graph</font></strong></a>)
Natalie Bailey/IRIN

Dengue has reached a five-year high in Thailand, with 41,136 cases and 38 deaths to 20 July, against 22,969 infections and 19 deaths in the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Public Health.

 

Dengue fluctuates every year depending on measures taken to avoid an outbreak, said Wichai Satimai, director of Thailand’s bureau of vector-borne diseases. “If we can reduce the number of breeding places, then we can reduce the transmissions,” he said, noting that northern Nong Khai Province has not reported a dengue case for seven years.

 

A quarter of the cases come from the Thailand-Malaysia border area, Wichai said. Infected travellers – with symptoms so mild they are unaware they are ill – unknowingly spread the disease.

 

Francois Nosten, director of the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit in Mae Sot, a town near the Myanmar border, said cases had not increased in the western border regions of Thailand, an area prone to outbreaks.

 

nb/at/mw

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