File photo shows a boy with dengue fever resting in bed at a hospital in Vientiane, Laos, July 10, 2013. (Xinhua/Allen Liu)
The death toll from the dengue fever outbreak in Laos has increased to 19 so far this year after the Ministry of Health confirmed the Southeast Asia country's latest dengue fatality in southern Sekong province.
VIENTIANE, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Lao people and health authorities are concerned about the increase in deaths due to dengue fever, as the Ministry of Health most recently reported that a four-year-old girl died from the virus, taking the dengue death toll to 19 in the Southeast Asian country so far in 2023.
The Ministry has confirmed the country's latest dengue fatality reported in south Laos' Sekong province. So far this year, 32,054 cases have been recorded, according to a report by the ministry' Center of Information and Education for Health on Saturday.
"Dengue fever is dangerous because it is easily transmitted and there is no specific treatment or vaccine," Somchaineuk, an informed 38-year-old woman from the northern Xieng Khuang province, told Xinhua on Saturday.
"There is a high risk that the virus will spread widely if we don't have serious preventive measures," she added.
Local authorities should provide the public with more information so that people, especially those in remote areas, know how to protect themselves from the virus, she noted.
Somchaineuk said the main interventions for preventing dengue are the reduction of mosquitoes and increasing awareness in at-risk communities.
File photo shows a doctor treating a patient suffering from dengue fever at a hospital in Vientiane, Laos, July 10, 2013. (Xinhua/Allen Liu)
"I call on everyone to closely follow prevention measures. If everyone strictly follows the measures on dengue prevention and control as instructed by the Ministry of Health, dengue cases should fall and hopefully no more deaths will occur," she said.
The highest number of dengue patients was reported in Oudomxay province at 5,374, while 5,056 cases were detected in the Lao capital Vientiane, and 3,776 cases were recorded in Khammuan province.
Kating, a 22-year-old man living in Vientiane province, said: "We should be more alert against dengue fever, doing a lot more to get rid of mosquitoes, which transmit the virus."
"I believe everyone should pay attention to the ways of prevention and protect themselves and their families from dengue fever. Meanwhile, health authorities should do more to give advice to people in remote areas to get rid of mosquitoes," he said to Xinhua.
Phimmala, a 29-year-old employee in Lao capital Vientiane said, "I think everyone should keep their surroundings clean, making sure there's no place where mosquitoes are likely to breed."
"Anyone who falls ill should see a doctor right away and have a blood test for dengue fever," she said, highlighting the importance of getting a diagnosis and medical advice as soon as possible.
File photo shows patients with dengue fever receiving medical care at a hospital in Vientiane, Laos, July 10, 2013. (Xinhua/Allen Liu)
"It is dangerous for anyone to simply take medicine they have bought at a pharmacy with the intention of self-treatment," she said.
The health ministry said dengue fever continues to be a threat to public health and claims lives each year, while thousands of people fall ill with the mosquito-borne disease.
Lao health officials said that even though the rainy season is near the end, people should continue to comply with standard dengue fever prevention measures as more cases are being recorded every day.
Prevention measures are aimed at getting rid of stagnant water where dengue virus-carrying mosquitoes breed. Members of the public are advised to cover unused containers, flush out water vessels, place small guppy fish in water jars to eat mosquito larvae, and to keep their home environment clean.
The Ministry of Health has advised provincial health authorities to ensure school environments are clean, saying that schools located in areas where dengue fever cases have been reported must be sprayed with insecticide to kill off dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
In addition, medical staff advise people with mild symptoms of dengue who are undergoing self-care at home to get a blood test every day. This would enable medical staff to evaluate whether the infection is getting worse. ■