6 June 2024

Dengue fever cases are steadily rising and not only among children. 18,000 elderly people have caught the disease in the first five months of this year, according to Dr. Thongchai Keeratihattayakorn, director-general of the Medical Services Department.

He said that the change of weather conditions, induced by the El Niño phenomenon, will increase dengue cases, which may persist for over two years, as he emphasised the need for research, treatment and prevention to contain the disease and to protect lives.

According to the Disease Control Department, 15 fatalities have been reported out of the 18,173 dengue cases during the first five months of this year. 6,088 cases are in 5-14 age group and 4,247 cases are 15-24. Most cases are being found in Trat, Nan, Chanthaburi, Mae Hong Son and Rayong provinces.

Dr. Thongchai advised people who think they may have caught dengue fever to see a doctor immediately and to avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen or diclofenac, which may cause internal bleeding.

In Phichit province, public health volunteers in Pak Thang sub-district have played a key role in ensuring villages in the sub-district are free from dengue fever for three consecutive years.

The measure used by the volunteers, since the big flood in 2011, is to engage villagers in a campaign to get rid of larvae in the compounds of their houses. If larvae are found in any house, the owner will be fined two baht for each container found to contain them. The money collected goes to the village development fund.

A green flag is displayed in front of houses which are free from larvae and a red flag where larvae are found. The health volunteers will be fined twice the amount if larvae are found in their houses, while the village head and sub-district chief will pay a fine four times higher.