Last Year’s Efforts Keep Dengue in Check

Medicine given to villagers and children during a dengue fever epide­mic last year has helped keep the disease under control this year, the vice director of the National Malaria Center said earlier this month.

“We will be worried about the re­occurrence of dengue by the year 2001 because the effect of the medicine will disappear,” Duong Socheat said.

An epidemic last year resulted in 16,215 dengue cases and the deaths of 475 children. In the first six months of this year, 1,113 dengue cases have been reported, said Dr Mey Bouth Denis, nat­ional co-director of the Euro­pean Commission’s malaria control program in Cambodia. “It’s quiet for the moment,” he said.

To protect people against den­gue, the National Malaria Center last year immunized children and sprayed insecticide in Phnom Penh to kill mosquitoes, which carry the disease. The center also provided educational training to residents.

“Last year, we spent over $1 mil­lion on propaganda, training and medicine,” Duong Socheat said.

Mam Bun Heng, secretary of state for the Ministry of Health, said if officials do similar things this year to fight dengue, then an outbreak won’t appear again for another couple of years.

This year, the government is continuing its fight against den­gue with a media campaign to educate people about the disease.

The National Malaria Center requested more than $75,000 from the Ministry of Health, but the center likely will get half that amount for its propaganda activities, Duong Socheat said. The cen­ter also plans to spend some $600,000 for dengue medication.

Dengue usually affects small children and foreigners who have not built up resistance to the disease. The mosquito-borne disease usually is accompanied by high fever, muscle pain and red spots the size of pin pricks.

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