The World Health Organisation classifies dengue as one of the leading causes of serious illness and death in children. WHO has listed dengue as the world’s fastest growing mosquito-borne disease and reports that almost half the world’s population is at risk.
Health workers at Mae Tao Clinic, located in the Thai border town of Mae Sot, are running a campaign to educate migrant workers about the dangers of dengue. Saw San Myint Htun, a community health coordinator at MTC explained to Karen News that as there is no vaccine or medicine to treat dengue prevention is the best option.
“People can protect their families from mosquito bites by reducing exposed skin to mosquitoes. They should wear long-sleeved clothing and use mosquito repellents containing DEET. We are warning people to sleep under mosquito nets day and night.”
Saw San Myint Htun said the people should be extra vigilant in protecting their children from the dengue carrying Aedes mosquito.
“Family members should always sleep under a mosquito net and cover babies under a netted parasol. Household insecticides sprays and mosquito coils can be used to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquito.”
Saw San Myint Htun, said symptoms range from mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain and a rash and urged people who think they have been infected to act immediately.
“People who have dengue fever should rest, drink plenty of fluids and reduce the fever using paracetamol or see a doctor.”
Saw San Myint Htun said that the dengue campaign based its warnings on the WHO guidelines. The WHO advised that people who suspect that they or a family member may have severe dengue to get medical help immediately.
“Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a more severe type with abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding and breathing difficulties – it is potentially lethal and affects mainly children.”
The WHO guidelines warn that people with severe dengue see a doctor or medic as “increases a patients survival.”
The public health campaign to reduce the risk of people catching dengue was launched by the Japan Association for Mae Tao Clinic (JAM) under the banner – Stop Dengue – Protect Your Family!
JAM’s, campaign coordinator, Aya Tabata told Karen News that the best preventive measure for areas infested with Aedes mosquito is to stop the mosquitoes’ laying eggs and recommended people get rid of discarded bottles, tins, containers, remove old tree holes, potholes, drums for collecting rainwater, garbage and cut down long grass and plants from around their living areas.”
Ms Tabata said that all containers that collect rainwater or are used to store water should be covered, cleaned every week or properly disposed.
“Essential water containers should be emptied, cleaned and scrubbed (to remove mosquito larvae and eggs) at least once a week to stop mosquitoes breeding. It is also people remember to clean flower vases and water saucers as well.”
JAM said the Stop Dengue – Protect your Family! Campaign will run for two weeks this information materials and will be evaluated to help a wet-season for 2015.
Saw San Myint Htun pointed out that as every wet season health workers are aware that thousands of people in Mae Sot are infected with dengue fever it is important to educate people of the risks.
“The high-risk months are June, July and August. The risk of migrant workers catching dengue fever in Mae Sot is high and the health information has been specifically designed for their use.”