Four persons have died and more than 600 cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) reported so far this year in Rangoon Division – the highest incident of the disease in all Burma’s administrative regions.
According to Dr Aye Mon Mon Kyaw, assistance director of the Department of Public Health, four deaths and 618 cases of DHF were reported in Rangoon from the beginning of 2016 till 18 July. She said the majority of these cases were in the outskirts of the city area of Rangoon, also known as Yangon, and in neighbourhoods and villages with no access to piped water, such as Hlaing Tharyar, Hmawbi and South Dagon.
Passed on to humans through the bite of a vector mosquito, the dengue fever virus can sometimes develop into DHF, a disease that can be fatal.
“Due to a lack of access to 24-hour tap water, some communities rely on collecting rainwater which they have to stock in urns, wells and other vessels. These water storage facilities are often stagnant and become breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” said Dr Aye Mon Mon Kyaw.
She added that among the four deaths were an infant, a five-year-old child and a 16-year-old.
“It is not only children but also adults who are in danger of dengue haemorrhagic fever – it is a life-threatening disease and can cause death very shortly after infection,” she said as a warning to the Burmese public. “If someone gets ill, contact health officials immediately and ask them to check for dengue.”
The Ministry of Health and Sports is currently providing assistance and education to civic groups and members of the public in areas with high rates of dengue fever.