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Dengue fever hits Thailand refugee camp

July 29, 2009 (DVB), An outbreak of dengue fever has hit a camp in Thailand that holds some 37,000 refugees from Burma, with ten people so far known to have been affected.

According to the Mae La camp healthcare coordinator, Si Si Layar, three people have been admitted to hospital in recent days after showing severe symptoms.

"The patients suffered from headache and high body temperature and then started vomiting blood," said Si Si Layar.

"We are boiling our mosquito nets and blankets to prevent [mosquito bites]. We need bigger pots [to fit the nets and blankets in] and more firewood for this."

The Mae La refugee camp is located north of Mae Sot, close to the Thai-Burma border.

Around 16,000 of the refugees there are young students studying in 26 schools in the camp.

The 10 camps along the border hold thousands of people living in close confines, meaning disease can spread quickly. Healthcare in the camps is often rudimentary.

Dengue fever outbreaks along the border and inside Burma are common during the rainy season.

The Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People (CIDKP) said last week that internally displaced people living in the jungles in eastern Burma were at high risk of dengue fever and malaria.

In Bago division's Taung-ngu district, a recent outbreak of dengue fever has hit at least two or three people in each household, said Saw Eh Wah from the CIDKP.

Reporting by Thiri Htet San


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