WHO expert: Surge in dengue cases is alarming
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia–The spike in dengue cases reported mostly in the Western Pacific and Asian region is alarming, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO Western Pacific coordinator Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said the countries needed to create more awareness on the disease and enhance patient management.
“People need to be informed of what they need to do and protect themselves, ” he said in a telephone interview with The Star yesterday.
The entomologist and dengue expert, who is based in Manila, said that a big dengue outbreak occurs once every four to six years but the rain aggravated the situation.
“This year, it started with the rain and it dragged on, and we see a surge in cases,” said Dr. Rabindra.
He also said that with more clinicians and diagnostics, countries were better at detecting more dengue cases.
“Moreover, populations have grown and there is more vulnerability,” he added.
Asked if climate change has a role to play, he said that it was difficult to make a direct link.
“Broadly, there is a connection, but we cannot point to it,” he said.
Asked about the link to an increase in temperatures, he said theoretically, it could cause an increase in dengue cases but experts had not seen an increase in temperatures in recent years. /jpv
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