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Jakarta Post

Death toll rises quickly as dengue fever spreads

  • Suherdjoko and Ni Komang Erviani

    The Jakarta Post

Semarang/Denpasar   /   Fri, February 5, 2016   /  06:14 pm

Dengue fever (DBD) continues to spread throughout a number of regions in Indonesia, with at least 70 people reported to have been killed by the mosquito-borne disease during the first five weeks of the year.

On Thursday, the Central Java Health Agency reported that the disease had claimed the lives of 15 local residents and hospitalized 1,080 others in January alone.

Agency head Yulianto Prabowo said his office had called on local physicians, particularly those in regions that have reported a high prevalence of DBD, including Jepara regency, and the municipalities of Semarang and Magelang, to stay alert and provide immediate treatment to those patients that they suspect may have contracted the disease.

'€œUnlike highland regions whose cold weather prevents mosquitoes from breeding well, lowland regions such as Semarang and Jepara are highly prone to the viral disease,'€ he said.

In Bali, the province'€™s Health Agency head I Ketut Suarjaya said that the disease had killed three people in January. At least 370 people had been hospitalized due to the disease, he said, a significant increase from the 230 cases recorded in December last year.

Ketut blames the delayed rainy season for the outbreak. '€œWe worry that the disease outbreak has just started and that infection numbers will increase significantly within the next few months,'€ he said.

To help prevent the disease from spreading, he said, his office had been disseminating information about DBD to local residents. The agency will also intensify fogging in DBD-prone areas and urge locals to get involved in the government-sponsored mosquito nest eradication (PSN) campaign program.

DBD is a disease carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. After a person has been bitten by a disease-carrying mosquito it takes between four and 10 days for symptoms to manifest. The most common signs are high fever, severe headache, nausea, swollen glands and joint pain.

The disease can be deadly when a patient experiences plasma leaking, fluid accumulation, respiratory distress, severe bleeding or organ impairment.

With the absence of a vaccine to protect against DBD, vector control has so far been the only method available for the prevention and control of DBD.

Earlier this week, the Tangerang regional administration in Banten reported that more than a dozen people had died as a result of DBD in the regency over the last month.

In South Sulawesi, 530 people are reported to have contracted DBD as of Thursday, eight did not survive.

South Sulawesi Health Agency'€™s disease control and environmental health division head Nurul Amin confirmed that the disease had spread throughout the province'€™s 24 regions, with Bulukumba, Pangkajene Islands, Gowa, North Luwu and Wajo, declaring extraordinary occurrence (KLB) status.

Agency head Rachmat Latief, meanwhile, is calling on local residents to see a doctor quickly if they suffer from fever.

'€œMany DBD patients fail to survive as they are admitted to the hospital too late,'€ he said.

In North Sulawesi, the province'€™s Health Agency head Jimmy Lampus said DBD had killed one person and hospitalized 144 local residents. Last year, the province recorded 489 DBD cases with five fatalities.

Health Ministry data shows that Indonesia recorded a total of 100,347 DBD cases last year, with 907 fatalities. Meanwhile, the highest number of recorded DBD fatalities occurred in 2007 when 1,599 people died as a result of the disease.

Andi Hajramurni in Makassar and Lita Aruperes in Manado contributed to the article

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