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Reports of dengue fever plummet

Reports of dengue fever plummet

TRACEY SHELTON

Hospital wards were filled with children suffering from dengue fever in the first half of 2007, but a public education campaign about the mosquito-borne disease has helped cut the number of cases in the same period this year more than 90%.

Public education campaigns have contributed to a massive decline in the number of dengue fever cases in children this year, according to the National Dengue Program.

Dr. Ngan Chanta, deputy director of the National Malaria Center and the National Dengue Program, said that public education campaigns had made people more aware of the precautions needed to avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes that spread dengue.

In the first half of 2007, an epidemic year, the National Dengue Program counted 20,836 cases of pediatric dengue fever, including 256 deaths. In the first six months of 2008 the program saw just 1,811 cases and 23 fatalities.

The National Pediatrics Hospital reports a similar decline. The chief of the hospital's technical office, Dr. Vithyarith Mam, said the hospital admitted just 235 patients suffering from dengue in the first half of this year, and just two fatalities.

During the same period last year, the hospital treated 2,440 children for the disease, of whom 41 died.

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