Health authorities on alert for mosquito attack

national March 04, 2013 00:00

By The Nation

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A nationwide public health campaign against mosquito-borne dengue fever will be launched to forestall a major epidemic forecast at up to 150,000 cases this year - four times last year's total.

The Cabinet meeting tomorrow would be asked to mobilise support from all authorities and the public, Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said yesterday.

The campaign will advise families nationwide to stay indoors in rooms with screened windows and sealed door frames all the time, not just when sleeping in mosquito nets. 
The application of herbal liquid repellent would be encouraged in place of burning mosquito coils, whose smoke is harmful, especially to children and sick people.
The campaign, if started now, will eliminate mosquitoes before May when the seasonal spread of the viral disease is at its peak. 
It is expected to cut dengue treatments by half, he added.
“There could be 120-200 deaths arising from all cases this year,” 
In the first two months of this year, 12 patients died out of 9,824 dengue cases. New cases are running at an average of more than 1,200 a week. The ministry estimates that dengue cases could reach 120,000-150,000 this year, of which 15,000 would likely need hospital treatment. 
The cooperation and assistance of all ministries involved were needed as the Public Health Ministry’s activities alone could eliminate only 10 per cent of the mosquito population, whose larvae hatch in pockets of rainwater or still water at the household level or in nature.

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