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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cambodia : Dengue officials brace for "nightmare season"

Article from IRIN :

" As Cambodia enters its dengue season, with outbreaks in four out of 24 provinces, the National Dengue Control Programme (NDCP) is warning that a repeat of the 2007 epidemic - when about 40,000 people were hospitalized, more than 10,000 in one week - may be imminent.

"Based on my experience, I see the same pattern as 2007 emerging now," said To Setha, a vector control specialist at the NDCP, pointing to the higher number of cases than usual during the final months of last year and the first two months of this year.

Rekul Huy, chief of epidemiology at the NDCP, is also alarmed by the high number of cases during months when dengue is usually rare.

A change in the serotype of the virus (which has four) from DEN2 to DEN1 detected in the middle of last year also concerns him, as does the increase in the percentage of patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) in the first four months of this year: from about 50 percent last year to two-thirds this year.

An increase in DHF patients signals the possible presence of a new serotype, he said.

In Cambodia, where dengue is endemic, the number of cases spikes in June and July - a period NDCP director Ngan Chantha refers to as the "nightmare season" - with major outbreaks occurring in three- to five-year intervals."

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