Parents on the Thai Burma border have good reason to be worried that their children will become infected with the dengue virus.
Statistics from the Thai Ministry of Health’s Department of Disease Control reveal that they as of July 27, 2015 – 39,597 people had been diagnosed by a Thai hospital with dengue fever.
The MoH statistics found that almost one in two of those infected were school students, a staggering 45.8%.
Mae Tao Clinic, located in the Thai border town reflects the national figures – in three days from the 1st to the 3rd July, they recored 24 cases of dengue and 12 of those were under 12-years.Naw Eh Paw Say, a student boarding at the Children Development Center told Karen News that out of a 102 students at the dormitory about 30 had been infected with dengue.
“I live in the school dormitory. Four students now have dengue, we keep them isolated in a separate room to try to stop other students being infected.”
Naw Eh Paw Say’s friend has been taken to hospital with severe dengue.
Nan May Soe, a support manager and senior medic at Mae Tao Clinic checks Naw Eh Paw Say’s friend’s, Lah Naw Paw, medical chart and explains.
“She had [high] fever for five days, she couldn’t sleep, severe headache, vomiting, didn’t want food or drink, she was tired and started to bleed from the nose.”
A World Health Organisation fact sheet on dengue, updated in May 2015, confirms that Lah Naw Paw had all the symptoms characteristic of severe dengue.
The WHO fact sheet explains that severe dengue “should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied by 2 of the following symptoms: severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or rash.”
Symptoms usually last for 2–7 days, after an incubation period of 4–10 days after being infected by a mosquito.
The WHO fact sheet warns that,
“severe dengue is a potentially deadly complication due to plasma leaking, fluid accumulation, respiratory distress, severe bleeding, or organ impairment.”
The WHO fact sheet states that
“warning signs occur 3–7 days after the first symptoms in conjunction with a decrease in temperature (below 38°C/100°F) and include: severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, rapid breathing, bleeding gums, fatigue, restlessness and blood in vomit. The next 24–48 hours of the critical stage can be lethal; proper medical care is needed to avoid complications and risk of death.”
Jiranan, a health promotion specialist, working in the Tha Sai Luat village tract in Mae Sot, was quoted in The Bangkok Post saying she expected that 2015 would be pandemic.
“We have more cases [dengue] presenting … the larvae count is up. The early rain, then hot weather, then more rain, this supports the breeding of mosquitoes. We have officially been on alert since January — I have been on alert the whole year.”
Lah Naw Paw is lucky. She has now started to recover.
Mae Tao Clinic’s senior medic, Nan May Soe warns parents that if their children are showing signs of severe dengue to take them as soon as possible to a clinic, doctor or hospital.
“Currently there is no vaccine or medicine to treat the dengue virus. If you are worried that you or your child has severe dengue get medical treatment immediately – early treatment is important – it can save lives.”