Champassak hospital appeals for more beds amid dengue outbreak

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Champassak provincial hospital is appealing to the public to donate beds for use by patients suffering from dengue fever.

The hospital has been overwhelmed with admissions in recent weeks after the number of people with dengue skyrocketed.

Minister of Health, Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong, on Wednesday visited health officials in Champassak to discuss the dengue outbreak.

He advised everyone to clear potential mosquito breeding sites to prevent the spread of the virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes that lay their eggs in stagnant water. He said health officials should educate individuals and communities about the dangers of the disease and encourage them to take active steps to prevent it by ensuring that water does not collect in containers of any kind.

Health departments are advised to encourage related entities to campaign about dengue and raise awareness of preventive measures.

 “We have sent specialists from Vientiane to discuss the control of dengue fever with health staff in the south of the country, including Champassak,” the minister said. As of July 10, 12,550 people had been diagnosed with dengue fever nationwide and 28 have died, the ministry’s Communicable Disease Control Department reported. Six deaths occurred in Vientiane, 10 in Savannakhet province, five in Champassak, three in Saravan, three in Khammuan, and two in Borikhamxay.

Dengue fever outbreaks have also occurred in other countries in the region.

In the Philippines, as of July 8, some 570 people had been diagnosed with the illness and 354 had died. In Vietnam, about 81,000 people had been diagnosed and 44 had died.

Singapore and Cambodia are also seeing high numbers of dengue cases.

It is recognised that five specific practical steps are the most effective means of dengue control. These measures are being practiced in Laos and other countries where dengue is prevalent.

The measures consist of closing and sealing all containers, flushing all water vessels, placing small guppy fish in water pots as these eat mosquito larvae, cleaning areas around houses and, finally, carrying out these four tasks regularly. These steps should be a part of all households’ weekly routine.

According to the World Health Organisation, dengue is one of the fastest emerging infections and is currently the most rapidly spreading viral disease known.

The number of cases in the Western Pacific Region has more than doubled over the past 10 years.

In particular, the Asia Pacific bears 75 percent of the current global dengue disease burden and accounts for more than 70 percent of the estimated 2.5 billion people at risk globally.

The disease has now expanded to new geographical areas that were previously unaffected and this trend is predicted to continue.