Controlling Dengue Has To Be Everyone's Business
Dengue transcends international boundaries and is an acute problem, with about 75% of the population in the Asia-Pacific region at risk. Countries in the region should intensify their efforts in the prevention and control of dengue immediately if the disease is to be brought to a level where it no longer poses a public health problem.
The World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia (SEARO) appealed to Member countries in August this year to accelerate key interventions in the control of dengue. These include policy and regulatory support and partnerships within the health sector and with other ministries such as the environment, education, law and tourism.
Several countries in the region are already facing an unprecedented increase in dengue cases this year. Indonesia is reporting over one hundred thousand cases, which is a 10 % increase from the numbers reported last year. Myanmar has seen a 33% increase reporting 11 577 cases so far this year and Thailand has 40 258 cases this year, an increase of 27 %.
Bhutan reported its first case in 2004 and has seen a gradual increase in the numbers; and Nepal reported its first case in 2006. Rapid, unplanned urban development has been identified as the main factor contributing to dengue outbreaks in these countries.