Elderly woman dies in third dengue fatality

Elderly woman dies in third dengue fatality
May 23 17:47 2016

A 61-year-old woman died of dengue fever Sunday night at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Malé.

An IGMH spokesperson told The Maldives Independent that she died around 7:30pm while undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit.

Her death is the third fatality from dengue so far this year.

A 35-year old woman from the island of Faresmaathoda in Gaaf Dhaalu Atoll and a seven-month-old boy in Malé died of dengue earlier this month.

Dengue is now endemic in the Maldives with annual outbreaks. According to the health ministry, the mosquito-borne disease is spreading at an alarming rate.

The mid-year south-west monsoon, marked by heavy rainfall, leads to an explosion of dengue cases. Some six people died of dengue last year while more than 1,800 cases were reported.

More than 460 cases have been reported so far this year, representing an increase from 2015. Some 67 percent of the cases were reported from the atolls.

However, the vast majority of cases were not life-threatening.

Dengue causes high temperatures, severe pain, headaches, rashes, and in its most severe form (dengue haemorrhagic fever) internal bleeding, vomiting and death.

The Health Protection Agency has stressed the importance of cleanliness and hygiene to prevent the spread of the disease and advised seeking medical assistance if a fever persists for more than three days

The authorities meanwhile launched a nationwide dengue control campaign on May 14 with staff of government offices and state-owned companies going door-to-door to raise awareness and eliminate breeding grounds.

The police and military as well as boy scouts, girl guides, and volunteers at the Maldives Red Crescent also participated in the clean-up efforts.

Fogging to prevent mosquito breeding also started in islands across the country last week.

Hundreds of civil servants and volunteers were also mobilised in July last year for a nation-wide awareness campaign after three people died of the disease.

The HPA has also advised the public to empty stagnant water from containers, throw trash into dustbins, and keep containers sealed to prevent water from accumulating.

Other preventive measures include wearing clothes that hide the skin, using mosquito repellants, and keeping doors and windows closed during dawn and dusk.