Officials from the Ministry of Health met with provincial health authorities on Tuesday to begin a campaign to curb an outbreak of dengue fever.
At least 10 people have died from the disease since June, with another 3,700 infected in what health officials say is a sharp increase from last year.
“We are very concerned about the outbreak of dengue fever over the last few months,” Huy Rekol, deputy director of the Ministry of Health's dengue control department, told the meeting. “So we must have a strong response to this outbreak.”
The outbreak began at the onset of the rainy season, in June, and has spread across provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampot, and Kandal, as well as Kep and Phnom Penh.
The virus has become more potent in recent years, Kuy Rekol said.
“We must increase health education in communes and schools, so the people can understand how to prevent dengue fever,” Huy Rekol said.
Dengue is carried by mosquito, so people should kill their larvae by using the chemical known by its brand name Abate in water pots and other still water sources and fill in puddles around their houses, he said.
People should also sleep under mosquito nets at night to prevent the early morning bites of the Aedes mosquito, which carries the dengue virus, he said. The mosquitoes are most active between 5:30 am and 5:30 pm.
Beginning next week, the Ministry of Health will send around 5 tons of Abate to the worst hit provinces so that it can be distributed by local authorities.
People are also encouraged to by “seven-colored” fish from markets to put in water pots, which keep down mosquito larvae. Children should wear long sleeves and pants to prevent mosquito bites that can carry the disease, Huy Rekol said.