Twenty-seven people have died from dengue hemorrhagic fever in Thailand so far this year, the highest fatality rate for the same time period in the past five years.
In response, Public Health Ministry deputy permanent secretary Dr Supakit Sirilak has recently sent an urgent letter to related agencies to prepare measures to prevent more dengue fever deaths.
It was estimated there would be about 10,000 new cases of dengue fever a month or about 95,000 dengue fever patients nationwide for the whole of this year, Supakit warned in the letter attached with a guideline for patients.
According to the Bureau of Epidemiology, 18,000 people were infected with the dengue fever virus from January 1 to May 1 this year, and 27 of them, including 12 children, had died.
The letter was sent to heads of the Department of Medical Services, Department of Health Service Support, provincial public health offices, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's Health Office, Private Hospital Association Thailand, royal colleges of physicians, Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of Thailand, and the Infectious Disease Association of Thailand. Department of Disease Control director-general Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai said the mosquito-borne infection caused a sudden high fever for 2-5 days along with severe headaches and pain of eye sockets and joint/muscle, loss of appetite, vomiting, coughing without running nose, skin rash, and bleeding from gum.
It also could lead to a shock episode, failure of the blood circulatory system, kidney and liver failure, and even death, he said. Factors that posed more risks to severe or fatal dengue fever symptoms were the patients' pre-existing chronic ailments such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, alcoholism, thalassemia or a previous history of having dengue fever, he added.