The Department of Disease Control (DDC) is warning that this year’s seasonal outbreak of dengue may be more severe than usual, following three early deaths in 2022 — already half the tally for the whole of 2021.
“Every year the incidence of dengue, along with that of other diseases such as diarrhoea and heatstroke, rises sharply as summer approaches,” said Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the DDC, on Sunday.
“Last year only six people died because of dengue while this year three dengue deaths have been reported in just the first three months,” he said.
These deaths were all among patients who were either recovering from, or were being actively treated for, COVID-19, he said.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were found to be a contributing factor in the severity of the mosquito-borne disease in the deaths, he said.
As a result, those who develop a high fever and other flu-like symptoms are being advised to avoid taking NSAIDs and instead take paracetamol, he said.
Even though most patients who catch dengue are children and adolescents, most dengue-related deaths are among the elderly, people living with a chronic disease and the obese, he said.
Getting rid of sources of mosquitoes including containers with standing water is one of the most effective ways people can lower the number of mosquitos in their living areas and reduce the incidence of the disease through mosquito bites, he said.
While most people focus on the prevention of COVID-19, the risk of catching dengue fever tends to be overlooked, he said.