Look for Phuketwan updates from the international dengue conference on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
DENGUE Fever is not spoken about much on Phuket except in low whispers at parties where people relay rumors of the latest victims and usually express the fear that saying anything too loudly might be ''bad for tourism.''
And can't they do something about those monsoon season puddles?
Many otherwise intelligent people would prefer to remain ignorant of the facts when it comes to Dengue and other unsavory topics of life and death on Phuket.
For those who fear the worst, let's just say that the official figures tell us there have been 599 cases of Dengue and two deaths on Phuket up to the end of September this year.
The incidence appears to be increasing. Last year up there were 496 cases, and three deaths.
We can add, having provided one of the 2008 cases, that the fever definitely does produce pain in sufficient doses to justify its ''break-bone'' reputation.
In a typical case it takes about a fortnight, and then some, to recover.
The good news is that everyone will be better informed about Dengue later this month when experts from around the world met on Phuket to compare notes and talk about how to eradicate the disease.
And the extra good news is that part of Phuket is already a world leader when it comes to keeping Dengue Fever at bay.
Yes, that's right. While Dengue has raged all around it, one part of Phuket has managed to go for years without recording a single case.
Take a bow, Koh Maprao.
For that reason, a global media conference will be held on Koh Maprao during the Second International Conference on Dengue and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever 2008 next week, between October 15 and 17.
Far from keeping tourists at bay, the conference is actually helping to boost numbers with 600 medicos confirmed and another 290 expected to attend the conference at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa.
Phuket and southern Thailand actually does not suffer as much from Dengue as the central region, especially Bangkok.
The national figures are growing more alarming.
So far this year throughout Thailand, there have been 66,018 cases, a dramatic increase of 39 percent over the same period last year.
Thailand is not the only country that suffers. Dengue seems to be a problem in all tropical countries, and Africa.
Our personal case of Dengue probably provides future immunity against two types of fever, a local doctor says. But we can still catch two other types.
In 2008 there have been 81 deaths from Dengue throughout Thailand, compared to 61 last year.
We think that's a good reason why conversations about the fever should be more than just whispers at parties.
During the conference of Dengue Fever experts from 48 countries, two Thai experts, Dr Siripen Kanlayarut and Dr Suchitra Nimmannitya, will be among those offering guidance on prevention of the disease and after-care of patients.
.. The trend towards medical conferences on Phuket must be catching.
Next year, 1200 delegates are expected to attend The World Medical Health Tourism Conference: A New Way Forward.