Confirmed by health authorities, the Lao public is still in danger of being infected with dengue fever this year, as the reported rate of cases has increased.
From March thru May 26 of this year, the recorded cases of dengue fever rates in the capital were higher than other provinces in the country, with 268 cases reported while during the same time last year, no cases of infections were reported.
In an effort to reduce the risk of dengue related illnesses, Head of Epidemiology Division under the Vientiane Health Department, Dr Chanthalay Sayavong, believes that increasing public awareness is one of the main strategies to prevent dengue transmission.
“In communities, the cooperation of villagers is necessary to remove mosquito breeding grounds. Family members, family heads, village heads, associations, charities and monks are also important in the battle against the potentially fatal virus,” he said.
Health authorities face a continued threat from the mosquito-borne virus during this peak risk period. Every household is advised to toss out water that collects in jars and vases, and to cover such vessels to prevent more water from filling inside, as pools of stagnant water is where mosquitoes typically lay their eggs
People are urged to clear shrubbery from around their homes, ensure that tins, jars and tires are turned upside down so that water does not collect water and to routinely change water in flower vases.
Dr Chanthalay mentioned that Laos also requires vector surveillance, resulting in pilot projects in target provinces to determine dengue transmission risk areas and to monitor changes in mosquito density.
He noted that dengue is an infectious tropical disease transmitted by particular breeds of mosquito, in this case the Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus species, and symptoms are rashes, severe headaches, and pain in the joints.
However, the six provinces of Bokeo, Luang Namtha, Xaysomboun, Phongsaly, Huaphan and Xieng Khuang have not reported any outbreaks recently.
According to the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology, there were 281 dengue cases in Vientiane last year from a total of 1,950 dengue cases recorded nationwide.
Seven fatalities were recorded, with Champassak being the most impacted from the outbreak, six of the seven deaths were recorded in the province along with the highest number of cases reported, while neighboring Saravan province reported the other death.