Dengue fever is a year-round, nationwide risk in Laos
(KPL) As of Jan. 25, at least 235 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Laos since the start of 2017. This compares to only 23 cases reported Jan. 1-30 in 2015 and 96 cases reported Jan. 1-29 in 2016.
Dengue fever outbreaks during 2017 have occurred countrywide except in the provinces of Bokeo, Huaphan, Luang Namtha, Phongsaly, Xaysomboun, and Xieng Khuang, the website for the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR reported last Friday.
No additional details have been released, except that 70 of the cases were reported in the capital, Vientiane.
Dengue fever is a year-round, nationwide risk in Laos; however, transmission rates are generally highest during the rainy season from May-September. In 2015, authorities reported more than 1,950 cases and in 2016, more than 5,610 cases.
The surge in activity during 2016 was likely due to the exceptionally strong El Nino weather pattern which caused prolonged high temperatures and high humidity. Such conditions provide the ideal environment for mosquitoes to breed which led to the increase in the number of cases of dengue fever
Dengue fever is a potentially fatal virus transmitted if through the bite of an infected mosquito. Infections produce a spectrum of clinical symptoms from four to 10 days after exposure ranging from influenza-like illness to severe and potentially fatal hemorrhagic fever. No vaccine is currently available to prevent the dengue infection.
As weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts, trousers, and socks, or use insect protection containing DEET, picaridin, or another approved repellents. Remove standing water to reduce the number of biting mosquitoes. Seek medical attention if symptoms develop within three weeks of being in affected areas. Do not use aspirin or ibuprofen products if you suspect you may have dengue as these could exacerbate bleeding tendencies associated with the disease.