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Phuket Dengue War: Three Deaths, 900 Cases

Phuket Dengue War: Three Deaths, 900 Cases

Thursday, June 20, 2013
PHUKET: Three recent deaths from dengue fever on Phuket have triggered the establishment of a ''war room'' at one hospital and the call for creation of special operations rooms at all six other Phuket hospitals.*

The unprecedented outbreak of dengue on Phuket required action and increased awareness among all residents especially, a crisis summit agreed yesterday at Vachira Phuket Hospital, base for the ''war room.''

There have been 912 cases on Phuket so far in 2013, with three deaths.

Unseasonably wet and warm weather has made the situation worse throughout Thailand, with 60 deaths already recorded this year nationwide.

Phuket Public Health Director Dr Bancha Kakong, who called yesterday's crisis summit, told Phuketwan: ''This is the worst ever year. We urge people to take greater care.''

Deaths on Phuket have occured among residents of Chalong and Thalang. The third victim was a Burmese who died at Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket City.

He is thought to have been bitten by a mosquito before he arrived on Phuket.

It's not just an issue for Phuket or Thailand. In Singapore, dengue deaths and cases are also surging towards record numbers.

On Phuket, authorities are urging greater alertness to the potential dangers of dengue among the elderly and especially young people aged 15 to 25.

''It's possible these people have already had dengue once but that it wasn't diagnosed, just treated as a fever,'' Dr Bancha said.

He warned that second-time dengue was much more dangerous, and that of the four types of dengue, Type 3, the most virulent form, was causing particular concern.

Tourists are less at risk, Phuket health officials believe, because resorts take precautions and act to obliterate small pools of water where mosquitoes breed.

Dengue is an infection associated with cities and the increase this year is a sign of Phuket's increasing urbanisation.

Victim One A Burmese died on Phuket in May, and it's suspected he contracted dengue before arriving on Phuket. He died in Vachira Phuket Hospital.

Victim Two Chalong resident. An old person contracted dengue and was sent to a private hospital but despite professional care, the victim died from Type Three.

Victim Three A university student from Thalang went to the local hospital but dengue was not initially diagnosed. When the student returned two or three days later, dengue was clearly the issue. Death was caused by Type Three.

Pornthep Siriwanarangsun, the Director of Thailand's Department of Disease Control, was quoted recently as saying: ''About 25 years ago we had a dengue outbreak of around 170,000 cases.This year, we expect 150,000 to 200,000 cases.''

In a worst-case scenario, up to 200 people could die, he said. But even if dengue cases surpass the 1987 record, the death toll that year of more than 1000 was unlikely to be exceeded, he said.

There is still no vaccine for dengue, a mosquito-borne disease.

*A Phuketwan reporter went unannounced to Bangkok Hospital Phuket in Phuket City just before noon today and was told no special arrangements had been made for dealing with the dengue outbreak.

Comments

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"A university student from Thalang went to the local hospital but dengue was not initially diagnosed. "
I had the same experience (not in Thalang though), even though I told the doctor I suspected dengue. After waiting 2 days I went to BPH, where my suspicion was confirmed

Posted by stevenl on June 20, 2013 13:02

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What a load of bull mosquito don't bite farrangs why not say there have been no farrangs that have been bitten so far.

Posted by Robert. on July 11, 2013 07:31

Editor Comment:

As someone who has had dengue and who knows of expats who have died from dengue, I can tell you that your post is ridiculous.


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