Dengue Outbreak Claims 102 Children to Date

Dengue fever has killed 102 children in Cambodia since January in one of the worst years for dengue outbreaks since 1998, health officials said Wednesday.

A total of 10,201 children have fall­en ill with the disease since the year started, said Ngan Chantha, director of the Ministry of Health’s National Dengue Control Program. In 2005, 155 children died from dengue, out of 6,000 who were reported to have become infected.

“We are sounding the alarm for people to be aware of the disease,” he said.

Kompong Cham and Kandal provinces have been the worst hit areas, along with Phnom Penh.

The Ministry of Health distributes 400 tons of abate, a chemical that kills mosquito larvae, every year. But the supply only covers about 20 to 30 percent of most provinces, Ngan Chantha said.

Ngan Chantha said poverty often means children with dengue don’t receive medical treatment.

“People are busy taking care of their stomachs,” he said.

He added that the worst years for dengue in recent decades have been 1998 and 2003.

The Health Ministry spends $1 million each year for medical equipment, training and technical support to combat dengue, he said. The NDCP also receives funding from USAID and technical support from the World Health Or­gan­i­za­tion.

Dr Pheng Lim, director of Khsach Kandal District Health Center in Kandal province, said that most children who received prompt medical attention for dengue at his center this year have recovered. “A few kids have died,” he said, adding that 100 children came from one commune alone for treatment.

“We went down to visit each commune and told them to send their children to hospital if they found a sign of dengue fever,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Elizabeth Tomei)


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