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Unseen Menace Lurks: Thailand Holds Its Breath as Deadly Fever Threatens – Can the Nation Dodge Imminent Danger?

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Held right at the heart of the bustling Saphan Sung district in Bangkok, the picture shows a glimpse into an ordinary day at an elderly care centre. DDC director-general Thares Krasanairawiwong and a cohort of senior health officials watch attentively as a nurse expertly administers a vaccine to a patient (Photo: Somchai Poomlard).

In the light of the rising concern surrounding the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), the Department of Disease Control (DDC) in Thailand is stalwart in their assertion—Thailand remains untouched by CCHF. The World Health Organization (WHO) identified this viral haemorrhagic fever as a menace of a communicable disease that’s ravaging through eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and some parts of Asia, with a daunting fatality rate hovering between 30 to 40%, as DDC director-general clarified last Friday. Fortunately, no cases have seen the light of day in Thailand yet, he reassured.

The tick-borne Nairovirus gives berth to CCHF. Commonly found in farm animals like cattle, goats, and sheep, these ticks are carriers of the disease. The contact with infected blood or tissue during or straight after slaughtering can lead to transmission. Elaborating on the symptoms, the DDC chief listed fever, muscle aches, dizziness, headache, vomiting, and abdominal pain as the usual suspects. Other symptoms include sore eyes, red spots on the skin from minor subcutaneous bleeding and bleeding from gums and nose.

Dr. Thares released a public advisory for people returning from foreign trips, especially areas infested with CCHF, to be wary of possible infection. Assisted medical attention is strongly recommended, and they are urged to share every minute detail of their journey and any potential infection chances like contact with farm animals, with their doctors.

In the meantime, the fight against dengue fever remains unyielding. As per the statistics shared by DDC deputy director-general Dr Sophon Iamsirithaworn, from January 1st to July 19th, Thailand has seen a staggering 41,527 cases of dengue fever, tragically claiming 41 lives in its wake. The numbers dramatically topple the records from the same time frame last year, surging by 2.8 times in volume. Alone in the past week, they have reported and confirmed 5,057 new cases of dengue fever.

Dr Sophon urged patients showing any signs related to dengue fever to avoid the usage of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, and aspirin as they heighten the danger of bleeding and compound the risk of complications. Earlier, The DDC released a vehement dengue fever outbreak warning, cautioning that the number of cases may swat up to 150,000 if the current preventive steps fall through.

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