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Phuket Dengue Fever: Cases Up, But No Deaths

Phuket Dengue Fever: Cases Up, But No Deaths

Sunday, August 29, 2010
UPDATE

A total of 519 people had contracted dengue fever on Phuket from January 1 to August 25, Public Health Deputy Director Dr Wiwat told a meeting with Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob on Monday. No deaths have been recorded, he said. He attributed the increase to a regular four-yearly cycle.

Original Report

NO DEATHS have been recorded on Phuket this year from dengue fever, the Deputy Director of Phuket's Public Health Department, Dr Wiwat Keetamanoch, said today.

He was commenting on a front-page report in a local English-language newspaper that said ''seven people died from dengue fever in Phuket in the first week of this month.''

Dr Wiwat told Phuketwan today: ''We have had no deaths at all from dengue on Phuket this year. This report is wildly inaccurate. I would expect to see a correction published immediately to prevent panic.

''If we had three deaths on Phuket, it would be classed as a catastrophe. I would be moved to another province.

''But so far, although there has been a surge in the number of cases of dengue, there has not been one single death all year.''

Deaths from dengue fever at the rate of seven in one week would certainly deter tourists from visiting Phuket. However, holidaymakers face few serious additional health problems - except for riding motorcycles without helmets.

While Phuket is free from dengue deaths, the number of cases throughout South-east Asia, including Thailand, has increased dramatically.

Latest figures revealed 70 deaths so far in Thailand this year, including nine in Nakhon Sri Thammarat and four in Krabi - but none on Phuket.

In greatest danger are people who catch dengue for the second time.

Last year, 309 people came down with dengue fever on Phuket during the whole year. From January to July, 383 people on Phuket have already suffered with dengue.

This compares with 194 in the same period of 2009 . . . so numbers are now very close to doubling on Phuket. But there have been no deaths.
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