Health officers with fogging machines started to douse areas specifically at educational institutions on Thursday (May 19), though the fight against mosquitoes in various parts of the province had been ongoing before that and basically had never stopped.
During Phase 1 of the project the following establishments were treated with disinsectant:
- Phuket Vocational College;
- Phuket Polytechnic College;
- Dowroong Wittaya School;
- Muang Phuket Municipal School;
- Kanokkwan Kindergarten.
On May 20, the Public Health and Environment Division stuff proceeded to fog the following schools:
- Ban Samkong Municipal School;
- Southern Business Administration Vocational College (SBAC);
- Phuket Technological College;
- Wittaya Sathit Phuket School.
As seen in the pictures posted by Phuket City Municipality on its official Facebook page, the treatment is conducted early in the morning, before students arrive at their schools. The authorities do not publish any fogging warnings in advance, yet the Public Health and Environment Division of Phuket City Municipality can be contacted at 076-216929-30 for any relevant enquiries.
Phuket has not experienced any serious dengue outbreaks in recent years, but common sense tells this is no cause for people to let their guard down in protecting themselves from the Aedes species of mosquito, which carries the disease.
“This disease returns every rainy season,” Phuket Provincial health Office (PPHO) Chief Thanit Sermkaew used to remind on a regular basis before COVID-19 topped the agenda overshadowing dengue. The last warning was issued in 2020.
Also, nothing has been heard this year about any campaigns to raise awareness of the disease, though in pre-pandemic times officials used to conduct them every year.
WHAT IS DENGUE FEVER?
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti and, to a lesser extent, Ae. Albopictus, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) says. These mosquitoes are also vectors of chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika viruses. Dengue is widespread throughout the tropics.
Mild dengue fever causes a high fever and flu-like symptoms. The severe form of dengue fever, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, can cause internal bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure, organ failure and death.
Dengue should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied by 2 of the following symptoms during the febrile phase (2-7 days):
- Severe headache;
- Pain behind the eyes;
- Muscle and joint pains;
- Swollen glands;
“The COVID-19 pandemic is placing immense pressure on health care and management systems worldwide. WHO has emphasised the importance of sustaining efforts to prevent, detect and treat vector-borne diseases during this pandemic such as dengue and other arboviral diseases, as case numbers increase in several countries and place urban populations at highest risk for both diseases. The combined impact of the COVID-19 and dengue epidemics could have devastating consequences on the populations at risk,” WHO warns.
To protect themselves from dengue, people are urged to clear all standing water from around their homes, keep their houses clean, including by simple tasks such as keeping clothes folded and stored properly, and by keeping unused flower pots and buckets turned upside down.
In addition, mosquito bites can be prevented by wearing long-sleeved shirts or trousers and using different types of mosquito repellents widely available at shops and stores.
Any people who believe they might be suffering from dengue should seek medical treatment immediately as early detection of disease progression and access to proper medical care lower fatality rates of severe dengue to below 1%.
There is no specific treatment for dengue or dengue hemorrhagic fever. The first dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia by Sanofi Pasteur, was licensed in December 2015 and has now been approved by regulatory authorities in approximately 20 countries including Thailand.