The first half of this year witnessed a sharp increase in dengue fever cases in Cambodia, reaching nearly 4,700 incidents and resulting in 10 fatalities. These figures represent an almost doubling of cases over the same period in 2022.

Leang Rithea, director of the National Dengue Control Programme (NDCP), revealed that from January to June, the country recorded 4,668 cases of dengue fever and 10 deaths, a significant surge.

“The increase corresponds to 1,799 more cases than last year, which registered 2,869 cases and seven deaths from dengue fever,” he noted.

The highest number of dengue cases were reported in Phnom Penh, followed by the provinces of Kandal, Tbong Khmum, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap.

Rithea attributed this rise to the cyclical nature of the disease and inadequate waste management.

“One reason among others for the increase in dengue cases is that the surge reoccurs every five or six years. Poor waste management at each household and community is another contributing factor,” he explained.

The NDCP chief also highlighted the role of standing water in the proliferation of mosquitoes, which transmit dengue fever.

“Stagnant water provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes. If people neglect cleaning or changing such water, it becomes a site for mosquitoes to multiply, thereby elevating the risk of dengue transmission,” he said.

Rithea urged citizens to maintain clean home environments and seek medical advice promptly if a high fever persists.

“Please seek medical consultation and treatment at the nearest public hospital or health centre within 48 hours if a high fever occurs,” he urged.

Reflecting on past occurrences, Rithea indicated that the last major dengue outbreak happened in 2019, with more than 60,000 cases and over 40 deaths logged. He warned of the high potential for a dengue outbreak this year and in the subsequent two years.

“The participation of everyone is crucial in the reduction of dengue fever,” he emphasised.

Addressing the current situation, Prak Von, director of the Kampong Chhnang provincial health department, noted that his province has recorded 48 dengue fever cases, a figure comparable to last year’s.

“Despite the stable numbers, the health department and local authorities continue to educate the public. If any village reports two dengue fever cases, we intervene immediately,” he said.

On June 13, the Ministry of Health issued guidelines for individuals and authorities at all levels to cooperate in preventing the spread of dengue fever. It warned that the increasing number of dengue cases necessitates citizen engagement and the adoption of health protection measures.

“To curb the spread of this disease, people and local authorities must adhere to the principle of model citizenship. This principle aligns with the slogan ‘My Family and I are a Model Family Because There Are No Mosquito Larva in My House,’” it urged.