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Dengue Cases In Western Pacific Doubled In Last 10 Years; WHO Says Disease Needs Higher Profile

The number of dengue cases “has more than doubled in the last decade” in the Western Pacific, according to the WHO, BBC reports. “National resources need to be mobilized to sustain dengue prevention and control, and the disease’s profile needs to be raised on the global health agenda to stimulate the interest of international agencies and donors,” said Shin Young-soo, the WHO’s regional director for the Western Pacific, where the majority of the population at risk of dengue lives.

The WHO also said the increased number of cases overall as well as the emergence of cases in areas that were previously unaffected, “are signs that firmer action cannot be delayed” (Lichtarowicz, 10/15).

Factors that “may affect the outbreak includes increase in temperature and rains which favors perfect breeding environment for the mosquitoes carrying the disease” as well as increased population and travel, reports (10/17).

BBC notes that the WHO previously estimated 2.5 billion people around the world are at risk of dengue (10/15)

Shin also “called on governments to display strong leadership and commitment, greater advocacy and investment, and better clinical management of cases. Regional collaboration was also vital, he said,” according to a WHO press release. Speaking at the WHO’s Western Pacific Regional Committee meeting, “Hans Troedsson, the Western Pacific Region’s director for programme management, underlined the need for governments to take a broad approach to the problem, involving urban planning, sanitation and environment.”

The press release also notes that the total number of dengue cases in Singapore “continues to drop year by year,” which “may be attributed to the country’s unique dengue outbreak and response system – which includes intersectoral collaboration during and between outbreaks – and a sensitive surveillance system that continues to operate between outbreaks” (10/14).

Dengue is costing India an estimated $29.3 million, according to the WHO, Times of India reports. The WHO also “said the number of cases of dengue, which recently caused havoc in India, saw a jump of 18% in 2007 compared with 2006 in southeast Asia.” The article also examines the impact of other diseases in India including cysticercosis and rabies, citing the WHO’s recent report on neglected tropical diseases (Sinha, 10/18).  

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