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Prevention as country awaits dengue vaccine

Every year in the wet season, dengue fever is a common and dangerous disease claiming the lives of people in Laos and indeed the whole Asian-Pacific region. Often those who get dengue fever have disregarded the advice from health authorities with respect to prevention of dengue fever.

However, some members of the public have asked involved authorities to provide a vaccine against dengue fever to keep the virus at bay.

A water bucket in bathroom should be brushed and washed every week.

Deputy Manager of the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI), Dr Kongxay Phounphenghack, said that the new dengue vaccine has already been developed by French drug maker Sanofi. Today, it has been administered to children in Thailand and Indonesia as part of a pilot scheme. In Laos, the Ministry of Health is waiting for the World Health Organisation's (WHO) conclusions before deciding whether to give the new dengue vaccine to children under the age of 15.

Even though the vaccine has been developed for more than five years, members of the public will still have to wait for it. This is because before WHO can give the vaccine its approval, further work is required in order to understand properly the side effects of the vaccine as much as possible. Some vaccines have taken for more than 20 years before they were approved by WHO. “This means everything must be safe before it is approved,” said Dr Kongsay.

Currently, Lao health officials are closely monitoring the situation concerning the new vaccine that is being given to children in both Thailand and Indonesia, which suffer from similar dengue related problems as Laos in the wet season. But Dr Kongxay said it is very important that all Lao children under 15 years old and mothers-to-be to have this vaccine when it is approved by the WHO. This is because the vaccine may cut the rate of annual dengue illness, resulting in a reduced risk of the virus in Laos.

However, while Laos is waiting for WHO approval of the quality of the dengue vaccine and beyond, Dr Kongxay has advised members of the public to follow ‘5por' measures on controlling mosquito populations.

Those include releasing guppy fish, closing and sealing all containers, flushing all water vessels, cleaning the areas surrounding residences, and remembering to do these tasks regularly. They should be done every week to disrupt the life-cycle of mosquitoes, which breed in standing water. “If the mosquito population decreases, the number of dengue patients will also decrease,” he said.

According to WHO, Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that has rapidly spread in recent years. Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti. Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that infects about 390 million people globally each year.


As of 14 July 2017, a total of 1,056 suspected dengue fever cases were reported in 2017. The total number of reported dengue cases, including dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, was lower than the 3 year-threshold of the same period from 2014-2016.


As of 30 June, there were 228 cases of dengue reported in China in 2017. This number is slightly lower than that reported during the same period in 2016


As of 7 July, there were 3,958 cases of dengue with 6 deaths reported in the Lao PDR in 2017, with 464 cases reported in epidemic week 27. The number of dengue cases reported this year is much higher than the cases reported for same period since 2014.


In week 28 of 2017 (from 9 to 15 July 2017), 2,056 dengue cases were reported with 7 deaths, an increase of 4.5 percent compared to week 27. As of week 28, a the number of dengue cases was 53,750 with 122 deaths compared to 61,534 cases with 135 cases during the same period in 2016.


As of 8 July 2017, there were 1,501 dengue cases reported in Singapore since January 2017. This is lower than the number of reported cases during the same period since 2013. During week 27, there were 63 cases reported and the number of reported cases in 2017 remains lower than those reported for the same period in 2016.


As of 18 June 2017, there were 45,074 cases of dengue reported in Viet Nam including thirteen deaths. Compared to the same period in 2016 (40,511 cases including 12 deaths), the cumulative number of cases increased by 11.3 percent. During week 25 (12 to 18 June) of 2017, there were 2,810 cases reported and without deaths. Compared to week 24 (2,921 cases, two deaths) number of cases decreased 3.8 percent.

Majority of cases were reported from the South (70 percent).


A total of 33,760 dengue cases were reported nationwide from January 1 to May 6, 2017. This number is 32 percent lower (49,565 cases) compared to the same period in 2016.




By Times Reporters
(Latest Update July 29, 2017)

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