New Dengue Strain Reappears in Cambodia


16th May 2012

The Xinhua news service reports that 1,500 cases of a new strain of dengue fever have been diagnosed here in the last twelve months.

A Cambodian senior health official told the service last week, but noted that there have been no fatalities to date from the virus.

The Chikungunya, or CHIKV, virus has similar symptoms to dengue fever but it is less severe and does not lead to death,” he said.

It was firstly diagnosed in Cambodia in 1961 but then appeared to vanish from the country for the next 50 years. However, in May last year, the disease re-emerged and has sickened around 1,500 people to so far, Dr. Char Meng Chuor, director of the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, told Xinhua, adding that the disease is also caused by tiger mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) and often breaks out in the rainy season.

Since the re-occurrence in last May, the virus spread from provinces bordering Thailand to those bordering Vietnam, including Battambang, Siem Reap, Preah Vihear, Kampong Speu, Kandal and Takeo.

“Preah Vihear has the highest rate of infection, up to 1,041 cases,” he said.

The disease causes pain on bones and muscles for a couple of months. However, the treatment of such symptom is relatively easy, compared with the dengue fever, by applying pain killing medicines, heat relief medicine and paracetamol.

Cambodia reported 2,277 dengue fever cases, with fourteen children dying of the disease in the first four months of 2012. The rate of infection increased by 369% compared to the same period last year.

“It’s a concern for us,” he said, appealing to people to sleep in mosquito nets and keep clean environment around their houses. To prevent the disease, it’s required to kill larvae by using Abate and by filling in puddles around houses, which are sources of mosquitoes,” he explained.

Dengue causes an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen glands and rash. While not usually fatal to adults, it can cause death in young children. Last year, the country reported 15,980 dengue fever cases, that caused the deaths of seventy three children.

In Cambodia, the outbreak of dengue fever usually begins at the onset of the rainy season in May and lasts until October.

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