Cambodia recorded nearly 20,000 cases of dengue fever, including 34 fatalities, in the first 35 weeks of the year, according to Leang Rithea, director of the Ministry of Health’s National Dengue Control Programme (NDCP).

Rithea noted that the figures doubled compared to the same period last year.

“Despite a decline in the last four weeks, the situation remains a concern,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ministry has urged the public to maintain vigilance against the mosquito-borne disease.

Rithea attributed the outbreak largely to the rainy season, but noted that a national campaign to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds had led to a recent drop in cases. The initiative involved the application of anti-dengue larvicide Abate and the spraying of pesticides in residential areas.

“Although the number of cases is declining, it’s crucial to keep your living environment clean and eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites,” he advised.

Minister of Health Chheang Ra echoed Rithea’s concerns in a statement on September 14, pointing out that dengue outbreaks tend to cycle every five or six years. Ra urged the public to remain cautious to prevent the spread of the malady and subsequent large-scale outbreaks.

Following the minister’s directive, the 25 municipal and provincial health departments, in coordination with local authorities, have taken measures to combat the infection during the rainy season. This includes the use of repellents in homes, schools and pagodas.

“Dengue fever affects both genders and all age groups. Consult a medic rather than self-treating with unverified prescriptions. The disease allows only a 48-hour window for effective treatment, beyond which complications can become life-threatening,” Rithea warned.

He also encouraged households to dispose of or destroy items that could serve as mosquito breeding grounds.”Be a model family by ensuring your home is free of mosquito breeding sites.”