The dengue epidemic sweeping Cambodia escalated in July, bringing the total number of childhood cases this year to 6,403, with 144 deaths, according to statistics from the World Health Organization.
“It’s the typical seasonal increase, but it’s worse this year because of the scale of the outbreak,” said Dr Stefan Hoyer, dengue and malaria officer for WHO.
Dengue fever generally peaks during the rainy season because of the enhanced breeding conditions provided by dampness. But an unseasonably warm December gave rise to an early outbreak, the results of which are now being seen in the scale of the wet-season epidemic. “It’s a very big epidemic,” Hoyer said. “However, the international reaction has been tremendous.”
WHO has flown in 43 tons of the larvacide Abate, and the European Commission donated 25 tons, which will be distributed in areas where dengue-bearing mosquitoes might breed.
The US Embassy also donated $75,000 for insecticide spraying and health education, with another $150,000 coming from USAID for epidemic control.
The German government gave $155,000 for treatment of dengue patients, who are now stretching hospital resources. In Phnom Penh 100 new beds are to be opened to contain the outbreak.