By CCTV correspondent Dusita Chumsri
Thailand is experiencing its largest dengue epidemic in more than two decades. The country’s Public Health Ministry says that 126 people have died from the mosquito-bourne disease this year, while more than 135，000 have been infected with the Dengue virus.
In Thailand, many savor the moment when the monsoon rains lash down to bring respite from the excruciating summer heat. But this year’s bountiful monsoon has brought its perils and the country is in grips of a Dengue epidemic. More than 136,000 cases of dengue fever, the world’s fastest spreading tropical disease, have been confirmed so far this year.
In a small town, just outside of Bangkok, authorities are scratching their heads over the surge in infections just this year alone. House after house, people are falling prey to this potentially fatal virus. The virus starts with aching joints, raging fever and a rash. But if untreated, it could lead to organ failure and worse. Mac was one of the lucky ones. His wife diagnosed the symptoms early and rushed him to hospital.
With no known cure or preventative vaccine, Hospital wards across the country are overwhelmed and tales abound of deaths and cases. Scrambling to find solutions, the Public Health Ministry has opened operation centers in all districts in the country and continuously campaigned in communities to raise awareness. Another strategy is to eliminate breeding opportunities for the mosquitoes.
In Bangkok, local officials armed with mosquito-killer spraying machines and masks fan out daily at houses and communities where dengue patients have been reported. Their task is to contain the probable spread of dengue by killing adult mosquitoes and wiping out their breeding sites.
The smell may be unpleasant but the effects of the Dengue hemorrhagic virus are far more debilitating. This is the first line of defense against an epidemic that has swept through Southeast Asia. Contributing to the seriousness of the dengue challenge, there are growing fears that virus could be mutating as a result of immunity that has built up in the region. But, without a preventive vaccine or cure, millions more will continue to suffer.