Dengue fever outbreaks spread to more regions across archipelago

Dengue fever outbreaks spread to more regions across archipelago

As the rainy season enters its peak, more regions across the archipelago have reported outbreaks of dengue fever.

North Sulawesi has declared extraordinary situation (KLB) status over an outbreak of dengue fever. North Sulawesi Health Office director Liesje Grace Punuh said the number of cases this month was more than twice the figure in the corresponding period last year.

Data derived by provincial health offices in 15 regencies and cities as of Wednesday showed the number of dengue fever cases in the province had reached 253. A total of 110 cases were reported in the same month last year.

Punuh said the KLB status came into effect if one of several criteria was met, including the emergence of an illness that did not exist before, a two or three-fold increase in the number of new cases in a month and a 50 per cent rise in the fatality rate in a particular period.

She added that her office had communicated with 15 regencies and cities to implement special monitoring of the disease since December. However, with the establishment of the KLB, the early-warning system had been intensified.

"We hope the number of dengue fever cases will stop rising. Hopefully residents can take anticipatory measures," said Punuh.

The number of dengue fever cases at the Prof. Kandow Malalayang General Hospital in Manado, North Sulawesi, has risen. As of Tuesday, 94 patients had been treated, three of whom died.

Hospital director Maxi Rondonuwu said after a patient was bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquito it would take between four and 10 days before symptoms would be noticed.

"The most common signs are high fever, severe headache, nausea, swollen glands and joint pains," said Rondonuwu. There is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever and treatment for patients is only symptomatic and supportive in nature.

On Java, the Gunungkidul regency administration in Yogyakarta is ready to declare dengue fever KLB status.

Gunungkidul Health Office secretary Dewi Irawati said the number of dengue fever cases in January stood at 49, one of which was fatal. In December 2014, 53 cases were recorded.

"The number of cases in the past two months is quite alarming. We are preparing to declare the KLB status that we will submit to the regent," said Dewi.

The regency administration is currently taking into consideration whether or not the human resources in the regency are sufficient to deal with the KLB.

"Declaring the KLB is not just issuing the status but it must be followed up with preparedness and funding to handle the problem," she said.

The number of regions declaring KLB status in East Java has risen from 11 to 15 after the number of dengue fever patients continued to increase daily.

The additional regions are Magetan, Ponorogo and Lamongan regencies and Mojokerto city, while the 10 regions that issued KLB status last week were Jombang, Banyuwangi, Probolinggo, Kediri, Sumenep, Pamekasan, Nganjuk, Trenggalek and Mojokerto regencies and Madiun city.

The number of dengue fever cases has also risen in South Kalimantan, West Kalimantan and West Sumatra.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has predicted that the rainy season will start to peak at the end of January, raising concern about increased breeding among the Aedes aegypti dengue-virus carrying mosquitoes.

The government has campaigned to prevent the mosquito from breeding by eradicating the insect's habitat through, among other things, the 3M procedure, which stands for mengubur (burying), menguras (draining) and menutup (covering), referring to how to eliminate the standing stagnant water in which the mosquitoes breed.

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