Dengue fever killed 407 in Cambodia
Dengue fever killed 407 people in Cambodia last year, the highest number of fatalities in nearly a decade, a health official said Friday. Most of those who died from the disease were children, said Ngan Chantha, director of the National Anti-Dengue Fever Program.
Dengue is a chronic problem in Cambodia but health officials say the spike in cases last year was due partly to the early arrival of the rainy season, which typically runs from May through November.
More than 40,000 dengue patients were admitted to Cambodian hospitals last year, compared to 16,650 in 2006, when 158 people died.
The death toll from 2007 was the largest since 1998, when 474 people died from dengue fever.
In 2007, Southeast Asia experienced the worst outbreak of dengue fever in years, with large outbreaks also reported in Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
Dengue infects up to 50 million people worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization.
Most of dengue's victims are children. There is no vaccine or cure for the mosquito-borne virus, which causes rashes, blistering headaches, nausea and excruciating joint aches. The most serious form of the disease can cause internal bleeding, liver enlargement and circulatory shut down.
In Cambodia, the government conducted intense public awareness campaign with the help of foreign aid donors that warned residents not to keep still water in containers around their houses where mosquitoes can breed.
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