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Dengue fever claims seven lives in six months

Seven people have died following a nationwide outbreak of dengue fever in the first six months of this year, with most of the cases occurring in Vientiane.
A senior official from the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology under the Ministry of Health said that from January 1 to June 10 this year at least 2,253 cases of dengue fever were reported countrywide, with seven people dying from the illness.
Three of the deaths occurred in Vientiane, where 514 cases have been reported in total.
Borikhamxay province recorded 263 cases and two deaths, Khammuan province recorded180 cases and one death, and Xayaboury province recorded 117 cases and one death. No cases of dengue have been reported in Xieng Khuang province.
Local health authorities are encouraging people to regularly empty containers that collect standing water, and clear undergrowth around houses. This is done to reduce the mosquito population, as it is mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever.
Because mosquitoes reproduce in water, every family should throw out water that collects in jars, vases and dishes and should cover any vessels to prevent more water from filling them up.
Schools, hospitals, factories, hotels, restaurants, tourist facilities and offices are advised to organise cleaning activities to remove any sources of stagnant water to slow mosquito breeding.
Improvement of the diagnosis and treatment of dengue at hospitals and dispensaries is also necessary to prevent unavoidable deaths.
If you fall ill at this time of the year, you should consider the fact that dengue could be the likely cause and go to a hospital to get a diagnosis as quickly as possible. Don’t buy medicine at a pharmacy and take it at home, a health official advised.
“This is a risky practice,” she said. “Some people have already died because they self-medicated instead of having their symptoms monitored by a doctor.”
The Ministry of Health will continue to work closely with central and provincial health departments to follow up on trends in dengue transmission and encourage the clearing of mosquito breeding sites, she added.
The ministry recommends five simple measures to reduce the number of mosquitoes, which are being practiced by households in Laos and other Asean countries where dengue is prevalent.
The measures consist of closing and sealing all unused containers, flushing out all water vessels, placing small guppy fish in water jars as these eat mosquito larvae, cleaning areas around homes, and, finally, remembering to do these four tasks each week. 

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update July 1, 2020)

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