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Maldives records sharp rise in dengue cases

The number of cases increased 200 percent.



The number of dengue cases reported across the Maldives has increased more than 200 percent compared to the previous year.

Some 1,912 cases of dengue were reported by the end of last month with 506 cases reported in April alone, according to statistics released by the Health Protection Agency Tuesday night.

The figure represents a sharp uptick from the 539 cases reported during the same period in 2018. There were 441 cases during the first four months of 2017.

Some 82 cases were reported in the capital Malé and its suburb Hulhumalé last month. Hospitals and health centers in the northern Haa Dhaalu atoll reported 83 cases and the southern Laamu atoll reported 86 cases.

There were no dengue cases in April from the capital’s suburb Vilimalé, Vaavu atoll and Fuvahmulah City.

Some 18 cases have been reported so far in May.

There are annual dengue outbreaks in the Maldives, although most cases are not life-threatening.

The HPA also noted an increase in chikungunya with 839 cases reported between January and April.

Citing a spike in dengue cases during May and June last year, the HPA has advised precautionary measures to curb an expected outbreak. 

Some 625 cases of dengue had been reported in May 2018, exceeding the number of cases reported during the first four months of the year.

Last month, the authorities launched a nationwide vector control programme after the number of cases from January to March increased significantly compared to the last three years.

The campaign includes fogging, treatment programmes, surveillance of cases, raising public awareness, and eliminating mosquito breeding sites.

Recommended precautionary measures include being cautious of mosquitos during dawn and sunset hours, elimination of stagnant water and breeding sites, using mosquito lotion, ensuring good hygiene during food preparations, disposing of food safely and avoiding non-essential visits to hospitals.

Symptoms of dengue include aches and small red pimples on the skin.

Several people died in 2016 because of dengue, including a seven-month old boy and a 61-year-old woman.