The number of dengue fever known cases in Phuket is soaring, according to the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO).
PPHO Director Narinrach Pichyakamin said figures released by the PPHO at a meeting of public health volunteers on June 17 showed 213 cases of dengue fever in Phuket from January 1 to June 12 this year.
The initial target for 2010 was to keep the figure below 170 cases for the entire year, Dr Narinrach said.
According to Ministry of Public Health statistics, Phuket has the highest incidence rate [63.4 cases per 100,000 residents] of dengue of any of the Andaman Coast provinces and currently ranks 13th among Thailand’s 76 provinces.
The incidence rate for 2009 was a much lower, at 38.5 cases per 100,000 residents. There were a total of 126 cases out of a total registered population of 327,006, the official figure used for 2009.
The PPHO currently lists the registered population of Phuket at 335,913, a figure which does not include the huge number of migrant workers from other provinces.
Given that the number of Thais living here is probably about twice the official population, the actual incidence rate is likely about half of the one reported.
This is because all cases among Thais are included in the calculation, sources at the PPHO said during previous outbreaks.
Dr Narinrach said education is key in preventing the spread of the mosquito-borne dengue fever.
“We have started campaigns to teach locals how to eliminate breeding grounds of mosquitoes,” he told the Gazette.
“In order to prevent the spread of the disease, everyone must look after their residences and make sure there aren’t places where mosquitoes can breed, such as open water containers. If everyone were aware of things like this and took action, the situation would improve,” he said.
PPHO volunteers always find more mosquito breeding sites at the beginning of the monsoon season, he said.
Dr Narinrach pointed out that it is urgent to implement a project of eradicating breeding grounds in homes and communities, as June and August usually see the highest numbers of dengue fever cases.
The highest incidence rate recorded in Thailand so far this year is in Chanthaburi Province, which stands at 134.77 cases per 100,000 people.
In Southern Thailand, Satun Province tops the list with a rate of 121.12 cases per 100,000 people.