Burma’s Ministry of Health has announced that more than 10,000 children, aged between three and eight years, contract dengue every year.
The news release by the ministry came across as a warning against the rise of the disease that claimed the lives of over 60 children in 2013.
Earlier in August, an epidemic outbreak of dengue fever was reported across Rangoon
According to the World Health Organization , dengue is among the most neglected diseases in the tropics, and has both spread geographically and increased significantly.
The deputy director at the Ministry of Health said that the figure of 10,000 is an average aggregate of the past 4 years.
He noted the necessity of educating people regarding preventive measures to ensure that mosquito breeding grounds are eradicated from the vicinity of household areas, and that repellents were used to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Dr. Myint Oo from Rangoon pointed out the correlation between dengue fever and sanitation, pointing out that mosquitoes generally tend to breed in dark and muddy areas. “If infected mosquitoes bite children, they can spread dengue fever,” he said. “Therefore the disease is related to the sanitation of one’s surroundings.”
The ministry has requested people sanitise their surroundings, filter water, throw away stagnant water, and get tested if they suspect they might have dengue.
Dengue affects both children and adults, and is common in rural and urban landscapes. Some of the most common symptoms include high fever, muscle aches, severe headaches, swollen glands, nausea and vomiting, joint aches and skin rashes. The symptoms last between two and seven days and if not treated may lead to a severe form of dengue hemorrhagic fever.
It is the second most common mosquito-borne disease after malaria. WHO estimates that between 50 to 100 million people suffer from dengue fever every year.
Within the Asia-Pacific region, Burma, Thailand and Indonesia have the highest dengue infection rate.