Tag Archives: dengue

Laos Issues Nationwide Dengue Warning

Laos Issues Dengue Fever Warning

The Lao Ministry of Health has issued a nationwide warning amid increasing dengue fever incidence across the country.

Dengue Fever on the Rise across Laos

mosquito transmitting dengue fever

Dengue fever is on the rise in Laos this year, with hospitals reporting an increase in the number of patients.

Dengue Fever Outbreak Far From Over

Dengue Fever Laos 2017

The fight against dengue fever in the capital is proving to be an uphill battle, as the figure of outbreaks reported has more than doubled in just one month.

Dengue fever cases in Vientiane have inflated from 332 to 696 cases just from May thru June of this year, with one death reported. During the same period last year there were no reports of any outbreaks in the capital.

Year-to-date dengue fever infections nationwide have increased from 1,760 to 3,000 cases from May thru June, along with five deaths being recorded in the country.

Authorities are particularly concerned that dengue cases have been reported in the capital at an alarming higher rate than any other provinces across the country. These figures contrast from January 1 to June 30 of 2016 when only 249 cases  were reported for the entire country.

Acting Director of the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology under the Ministry of Health, Dr Onechanh Keosavanh stated that openly reporting outbreaks is one of the main approaches in responding to dengue, adding that increasing public awareness is one of the strategies to reduce the risk of dengue transmission.

Local officials and health authorities continue to highly urge people to clear potential mosquito breeding sites around their homes and workplaces to help control the spread of the virus, stressing that local communities need to keep their surroundings clean, while focusing on killing mosquitoes and their larva inside and near these areas. Any still water that collects in jars, vases and dishes should be thrown out. Schools, hospitals, factories, hotels, restaurants, tourist facilities and offices are advised to organize cleaning activities to remove any sources of stagnant water to slow mosquito breeding.

According to the Ministry of Health, reported cases for 2017 are slightly higher than the 1,716 cases reported for 2014, however is still lower when compared to the same period in the epidemic years of 2010 and 2013.

2013 was particularly challenging with 15 out of 17 provinces reporting dengue at startling epidemic levels and resulted in 95 deaths from a total of 44,171 reported dengue cases.

Dengue Fever Thriving in the Capital

dengue fever

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.

Dengue Fever Already at Epidemic Level in Laos in 2017

Dengue Fever Laos 2017

Minister of Health, Associate Professor Dr Bounkong Syhavong chaired the annual National Dengue Review Meeting organized by the Department of Communicable Disease Control (DCDC) and Center for Malaria Parasitology and Entomology (CMPE), Ministry of Health. Dengue activities in MOH are also supported by the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology (NCLE), Department of Health Care (DHC) and Vientiane Capital Health Department and provincial health departments.

Speaking at the event, Dr Bounkong said “DCDC, NCLE and CMPE have been working with central and provincial health departments to closely follow up on trends of dengue cases to determine dengue transmission in high risk areas and to monitor changes in mosquito density. We need to closely monitor circulating dengue serotypes and continue to encourage community participation to destroy mosquito breeding sites.”

Dr Juliet Fleischl, WHO Representative to Lao PDR highlighted that “Dengue is already at alert and epidemic level with most of the cases reported from Vientiane Capital, Attapeu Province and Champasack Province. We seriously need to consider the possibility of a major dengue outbreak this year and take concrete proactive measures to prevent that from happening by destroying mosquito breeding sites and keep a close monitoring on vector surveillance so that we can act before it is too late.”

Dengue outbreaks are cyclical, occurring every 3 to 5 years. The last time Laos had a big outbreak was back in 2013.  The situation now is similar to what we faced back in 2013 before the outbreak. At the end of 2012, there was a local dengue outbreak in Luang Prabang Province and a change in the Dengue serotypes reported. At the beginning of 2013, we saw the highest number of dengue cases reported since 2010. Climate variation was also a concern at that time.

Last year, we know that there was a local dengue outbreak in Sokhuma District of Champassack Province, and reported cases from Bolikhamxay and Khammuane provinces. Dengue serotypes reported has changed from DEN 2 and 3 to DEN 1 and 4. The numbers of dengue cases which we are seeing in 2017, which is 215 reported dengue cases with no death, is second only to 2013. 

From Vientiane Capital down to the Champasack and Attapeu provinces, many provinces are reporting dengue cases at alert level. We are also seeing changes in climate conditions, all evidences to suggest we may have another dengue outbreak if we do nothing today.

Changes in agricultural practices due to variation in temperature and rainfall can affect the transmission of vector-borne diseases. Better reporting systems are needed to monitor and predict trends, as well as to support surveillance and capture the true burden of the disease.

Since the start of the year, DCDC and CMPE have travelled to the southern provinces to monitor the daily dengue surveillance review. The provincial and district offices in Attapeu and Champassack have been working with communities in regular clean-up campaign to maintain a clean environment that prevent mosquito breeding.

Dengue prevention and control solely depends on effective vector control measures. Behavioral change is a crucial element in vector-borne diseases in understanding dengue prevention and on how to protect themselves from mosquitoes, ticks, bugs, flies and other vectors.

Community need to dispose of solid wastes properly and removing artificial man-made habitats that will promote mosquito breeding. Always cover, empty and clean domestic water storage containers on a weekly basis. Use personal household protection such as window screens, long-sleeved clothes, insecticides treated materials, coils and insecticides.

The Ministry of Health and partners agreed that the annual National Dengue Review Meeting comes at an opportune time to discuss dengue outbreak control activities for this year based on lesson learnt and intervention taken in the past.  While the Ministry of Health continue to monitor the situation, it is important for us to stay vigilant and protect ourselves against mosquito bites.

Source: WHO Press Release

2,800 People Infected with Dengue Fever Nationwide

More than 2,800 people across the country have been infected with dengue fever beginning since January this year with nine patients dead, Laophattana newspaper reported yesterday.

Risk of Dengue in Xayaboury on the Rise

It’s now a major concern that people in Xayaboury may be at more risk of dengue fever due to flooding in the province after continued flooding in many northern areas of the country.

Laos Remains Free From Dengue Outbreaks So Far

Laos has been quite silent this year in regards to any potential dengue fever outbreaks even as some countries in ASEAN are still facing rising dengue infections.