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Deadly Dengue Outbreak Spirals Out of Control: Over 5,000 Cases Reported in a Week! – Thailand On The Brink of Epidemic Takeover?

The noted Public Health Ministry’s Disease Control Department director-general, Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, has issued an alarming statement regarding the startling rise in dengue fever cases across the nation. In a span of a week, over 5,000 cases have been registered, bringing the grand total to nearly 40,000 reported cases nationwide. Furthermore, a grim tally of 40+ deaths have been linked with the disease as well.

This current development bares a strong resemblance to the previous 2019 outbreak, where an alarming 70,000+ cases and over 70 deaths were reported throughout the year. If the present upward spike in the number of cases persists, it might become necessary to instigate rigorous measures swiftly and effectively to curb the spread of this disease.

In the face of this crisis, the representatives of the Department of Local Administration met virtually with the public health teams from 30 districts of 18 provinces. All of these provinces have experienced a steady rise in the number of dengue fever cases. The concern of immediate control and preventive measures being implemented within the forthcoming four weeks was reiterated during this meeting held on July 21.

The provinces of Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Phayao, Tak, Phetchaburi, Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani, Krabi, Phuket, Songkhla, Satun, Narathiwat, and the capital, Bangkok, are among the most affected. These provinces have been grappling with dengue cases consistently for over eight weeks. Additionally, the last quarter’s case load has surpassed the five-year average, signaling the imminence of a potential epidemic.

Dr. Tares has also distributed specific directives to the expert teams from the Bureau of Vector-borne Diseases, the Bureau of Epidemiology, and the country’s 38 provincial centres for vector-borne disease control. They are endowed with the responsibility of furnishing support and resources aimed at reducing the number of cases below the five-year average.

Dr. Sophon Iamsirithavorn, the deputy director-general of the Disease Control Department, highlighted the fact that the Communicable Diseases Act of 2015 categorizes dengue fever as a closely monitored infectious disease. However, if the disease continues to manifest itself at such high rates, the department is empowered by Section 9 of the Act, to officially declare areas where dengue fever is prevalent as epidemic zones. In doing so, disease control officers are authorized, under Section 34 of the Act, to initiate measures to control and prevent the disease, akin to those undertaken to combat dangerous infectious diseases, such as Covid-19 during the initial years of the pandemic.

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