Champassak health officials will hold an urgent meeting this week to discuss ways to prevent dengue fever, after a 10-year-old girl died from the virus this month.
The girl, from Kaengkom village in Khong district, died after she went into shock.
Deputy Director of the Champassak provincial Health Department, Dr Somkieth Volarath, told Vientiane Times yesterday that deputy governors or governors from each of the 10 districts are expected to attend the meeting. In particular, officials will discuss how they can encourage people to clear out the places where mosquitoes breed.
“In the past, we usually had dengue fever outbreaks from April to November. But for the last few years, people here have been contracting the virus all year round,” he said, adding that some villagers did not comply with health officials' advice to clean out mosquito breeding sites.
Dr Somkieth said local authorities and individual neighbourhoods should rigorously step up measures to keep the virus at bay.
The epidemiology division of the Champassak provincial Health Department is currently recording about 15-20 cases of dengue fever each week. However, this number is low when compared to the much higher incidence of the virus from April to November each year.
Fortunately, the most commonly occuring types of dengue virus are not dangerous, and most people do not normally go into shock or develop a bad rash.
Dr Somkieth said the province is aiming to reduce the number of dengue cases as much as possible, to keep figures below last year's rates for infection and mortality.
However, health officials will struggle to be successful without the cooperation of the public and local authorities at all levels in clearing potential mosquito breeding sites on a weekly basis.