Blaming migrant workers for dengue does not help. Concrete action is needed to decrease dengue.
Spike in Yangon dengue cases expected
Myint Kay Thi
Friday, 02 June 2017
Experts say that the number of dengue fever cases is likely to be high this year.
Particularly susceptible to the disease is the Yangon Region.
According to the Yangon Public Health Department, over 1000 people were infected with dengue in the first five months, while 270 cases were reported in the same period last year.
There was a five-fold increase in the number of dengue cases in Yangon.
An official from the Yangon Regional Public Health department said, “Most of the deaths were children less than 10 years of age.”
Dr Zaw Lin, program manager for dengue at the Ministry of Health and Sport Department of Public Health, said that the number of dengue cases is expected to exceed the 2016 figures but not as bad as 2015.
“Some townships are expected to a high number of dengue cases. The dengue tends to infect people who have low immunity against the virus, generally,” he said.
Dr Win Lwin, the Regional Director at the Department of Public Health, Yangon said Yangon had the highest incidence compared with other regions and states.
He added that suburban areas of Yangon such as Hlaing Tharyar township, East Dagon, North Dagon, South Dagon and Dagon Seikkan townships have a tendency of higher dengue cases than other townships in the Yangon Region.
“Yangon has a big population with many migrant workers. This is one reason for the high number of dengue cases,” said Dr Win Lwin.
He added that health workers faced many challenges when implementing prevention programs in the community.
“Public awareness and cooperation is very important for us. We have some difficulties.
For instance, we visit high-rise buildings to distribute Abate, a larvicide, but many times no one is in,” he said.
Dengue fever is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
The number of dengue cases is thought to have spiked because of climate change and population growth, as well as an increase in the number of containers that have stagnant water .
Dr Win Lwin said “The best defence is prevention. Adults and children should avoid mosquito bites.”
“People die from dengue because they go to hospital too late, ”he said.
Health experts say that people should go quickly to the health department, hospital or clinic when they have dengue symptoms.
Dengue is typically more common in the rainy season. It tends to be high between July, August, and September.
Climate change and population growth, as well as an increase in the number of containers of stagnant water are among the many causes thought to have caused the spike in the number of dengue cases.
A mother of three from Kyimyindine township in Yangon said, “Every parent worries for their children. So, I take preventive measures like wearing long-trousers or shirts, have a mosquito net when they sleep.
Dengue can strike people at any age, but it is particularly common among children.
The Department of Public Health is carrying out prevention programs such as fogging, sharing Abate and an awareness program in all townships.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever has been prevalent in Yangon since 1965. After a major outbreak in 1970, the fever spread to Mandalay and Bago regions and Mon State.
Children are particularly prone to the virus and the symptoms of dengue are flu-like and can include joint and muscle pain accompanied with high fever.
Statistics from the Department of Public Health showed that from January to May 20 this year, almost 2500 were infected with dengue fever with 10 fatalities across the country.
In first five months of this year, Yangon had highest number of dengue fever cases with 1083 people infected and five deaths, data showed.
In 2015, the total number of dengue cases was over 50,000, with around 140 fatalities and in 2016, almost 10,000 patients were reported with dengue fever between January and December, with 54 deaths recorded across all regions.