Pa-an Children at risk from dengue outbreak

Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne infection that peaks during Burma’s wet season has struck Karen children early this year. A government health official told Karen News that the number of children in Pa-an, the capital of Karen State, presenting with dengue are high.

Dr Win Naing, the Burma government’s health director for Karen State, explained to Karen News that while malaria rates are stable, “the infection rate for dengue fever has increased. Between January and March [2013], according to our statistics, 97-people had been infected – there are other patients who may be infected who have not been recorded.”

A nurse who asked not to be named said Pa-an General Hospital is currently seeing 60 children with dengue in its In-patient Department.

Dengue fever, an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus, is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles.

Outbreaks of dengue fever occur every year in Burma, peaking during the middle of the monsoon season in June and August. Dengue is transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes, which mainly bite during the day.

Speaking to Karen News, a villager from Naung Lon village, the mother of a child infected with dengue said.

“My 12-year old kid has had a fever for four days and was receiving medical treatment at the medical clinic nearest to our village, but his condition did not improve. I came to Pa-an to see a pediatrician. We have to stay at the hospital because of my kid’s health. Financially, I have difficulty, but the child is more important.”

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