Maldives hit by dengue fever in global epidemic

Dengue fever is on the rise across the Maldives, especially in Male’, and children are the main victims, according to the Maldivian Centre for Community Health and Disease Control (CHDC).

Official records show 473 cases have been reported for 2010 up to the first week of July, and children aged between one and nine years are the most effected by the virus. “There have been no fatalities reported so far,” says the CHDC.

“In January, we had 24 cases of dengue, and in April it climbed to 28,” says Zeenath Ali Habeeb, media co-ordinator for Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH). Figures from IGMH show that cases almost doubled in May to 50, and by June they reached 57.

Each year with the onset of the monsoon, there is an increase in the number of people with dengue, according to Dr Solah, senior medical officer at CHDC. Rain water in containers of any kind can become mosquito breeding grounds, and this is the main reason for the increased incidence of dengue.

The vector control unit carries out regular programmes to ensure mosquito breeding grounds are controlled, says Dr Solah, who has confidence in the capacity of the country’s hospitals to handle dengue cases even though there is no specific cure.

“Hospitals can only give supportive treatment, like providing lots of fluids,” he explains. “The decline in fatalities over the years shows that our expertise has improved in handling dengue.”

Despite the regular occurrence of dengue, health authorities say it cannot be prevented. “We are managing it as best as possible,” claims Dr Solah, “with regular inspections by the vector control unit, and advising islands and atolls to destroy mosquito breeding grounds.”

Efforts to eradicate dengue are hampered by “the absence of any laws” to penalise people and owners of buildings who habitually refuse to clean out water containers that are fertile breeding grounds for mosquitoes, according to Dr Solah.

Few cases of dengue have been officially reported in the islands. Most of the known cases are in the capital. Numerous construction sites and congested living conditions mean the inhabitants of the capital are more likely to suffer from dengue, Dr Solah believes. “Lack of human resources to tackle the issue is another problem,” he says. Monitoring and constant surveillance of the situation requires trained entomologists.

“Collective efforts at the individual, social and government level are needed to tackle this public health issue.”

Shocking Global Dengue Infection Rates

The World Health Organisation estimates that each year 50 million adults and children are infected with dengue, although other estimates place the figure as high as 100 million. Deaths from the disease are estimated at 25,000 per year. It is endemic in more than 100 countries.

Dengue is a disease of urban and semi-urban environments – those favoured by its main mosquito vectors Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus, both of which feed during daylight or when dwellings have their lights switched on. There are four dengue viruses and nearly 2.5 billion people, 40 percent of the world’s population, are at risk of infection.

The official statistics, relying on diagnoses by doctors at hospitals, only hint at the extent of the problem. In Africa, dengue infection and death rates are hidden by lack of statistical reporting, and the situation is similar in India.

In the Philippines this year nearly 26,000 cases have been treated in the country’s hospitals and 190 people have been killed by the virus. The province of Davao del Sur has been declared a “state of calamity”.

Malaysia is experiencing a resurgence of dengue with over 23,500 official cases so far this year and eight deaths. For the whole of 2009, there were 24,817 people diagnosed with the disease.

In Thailand, official statistics show over 26,000 dengue infection cases nationwide and 30 fatalities between January and June this year, with 6 deaths during a week in June.

Sri Lanka has had nearly 25,000 dengue victims and 132 deaths this year. On 15 July, Sri Lanka’s Education Ministry issued a circular to schools making it compulsory for every school to reserve half an hour for two days each week to clean school grounds and class rooms.

In Burma, there are reports of more than 900 people infected with six deaths in the Rangoon district, and outbreaks of plague and dengue fever spreading through military units in Naypyidaw, the Burmese military regime’s seat of government.

Vietnam has reported over 5,000 cases this year.

Statistics are scarce for India, but Bangalore city, which has spent millions of rupees on prevention campaigns, reports 159 dengue cases so far. In Delhi, there are concerns about spread of dengue when the city hosts the Commonwealth Games in October, a month when there is a high prevalence of vector-borne diseases.

Dengue infections are rising in Yemen and dozens of people have been killed there this year.

“I receive calls on a daily basis from patients and relatives of the dead seeking help… many people died at home as they were unable to cover the cost of treatment in hospitals,” said Abdulbari Dughaish, a member of parliament (MP) from the Aden, in a report from UN’s IRIN website.

In Central and South America, dengue epidemics are raging, with hundreds of deaths.

Brazil had nearly 750,000 official cases of dengue and 321 deaths from the disease in the first five months of 2010. Colombia has been reporting thousands of new cases each week. In Venezuela, nearly 50,000 people have caught dengue this year.

Other countries in that region are also experiencing severe dengue infection rates. Honduras reports over 15,000 cases with 19 deaths – a state of emergency due to dengue was declared in June. Guatemala – 4,400 cases. Martinique – 5,300 cases since the end of February. Dominican Republic – 4700 dengue cases with 24 deaths. French Guiana – 6300 cases, and Paraguay – nearly 11,000.


16 thoughts on “Maldives hit by dengue fever in global epidemic”

  1. ANNI - Can you leave your political opponents for a while and concentrate on these things?

    I remember seeing in Dr.Hassan Saeed's manifesto that eradicating mosquito breeding grounds in Maldives will be one of his priorities and even your 'reeking' administration at the beginning, staged some drama pretending you were fighting against moquitoes in the atolls. What happened to that programme?

    ANNI - Do you know how much it costs for each child with dengue fever? More than RF3000/- per hospitalisation and it's life threatening!

    You should have resigned with your "FILI CABINET".

    YOU INCAPABLE and IMPOTENT dick-tator!

    What happened to your famous saying that YOU did not want to RUN for president?

    You have become a pain! Dick-tator!

    Learn to concentrate on the real issues?

    I don't think there is anything more corrupt than MDP today in Maldives!

  2. What the heck did you say, vuvuzela?
    This article is about Dengue fever. lol

    The country is upside down and Minivan News is more interested in dengue fever! Tell this to the MDP supporters. Not to the readers on Minivan!

    Minivan has not published my comment on another article because I said:
    Qaum halaaku vaakah, vaakah neiy!
    Qaum halaaku vejje!

    I hope they publish this one.

  3. "You should have resigned with your “FILI CABINET”. "

    It was not a “FILI CABINET”.

    It's just an "OSCILLATORY CABINET."
    No where else in the world you can find one!

    Aren't we great?

  4. Nothing will be effect unless we need to maintain law, even DRP must be accountable or we will die in vain and pain

  5. What is at stake? managing the dengue outbreak which is a natural outbreak claiming lives all over Asia, or wasting time and money in promoting political propaganda and glorifying individuals?
    Why don't we go sit in front of IGMH till the government makes immediate medical improvements rather than wasting time fighting the police, throwing stones at each other!
    Why don't we go sit in front of Education ministry and demand better teachers rather complaining and sit at home and pay the same lousy teachers thousands in tuition fees!
    Why don't we change ourselves into productive people, learn more and get the jobs foreigners are taking rather than sitting in coffee pubs and get drunk over coffee, cigarettes and suparis and blame someone else!
    If you were least interested in learning the basics, we would not have the dengue infestation spreading like fire or spend on simple illnesses we can treat at home, and depend on chemists for their advises!
    The children are dying not because of Anni or anyone else. Face reality and learn how to manage situation. Awareness is key to everything. Stop being political in every sense and be responsible. Writing about president nasheed in this article is simple stupidity.
    Do you have a child? If you don't, just shut up! and if you do, shame on you!

  6. Ask Kutti Nasheed to keep a lid on the Tax bill and similar government services to people! I call upon the police to arrest DRP thugs immediately!! Including ex-drug thug MP Nihan (some one please check previous police records), Street thug Mahloof, Born breaker Umar Naseer, Mega thug Thasmeen!!

  7. I openly blame the Ministry of Agriculture for the spread of dengue fever and other viral related illnesses.
    There is no control of pest management in any island. Yes we have pest companies, however, methods and chemicals used are not checked or regulated.
    How much tonnes of chemicals are used in resorts to manage mosquitoes? approximately 10ltrs per island per month. Extremely high toxic residues are released.
    As long as we have no proper rules and regulations on pest management, we would be vulnerable to viral outbreaks.

  8. @ Real

    "Writing about president nasheed in this article is simple stupidity.
    Do you have a child? If you don’t, just shut up! and if you do, shame on you!"

    I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.
    This part of your comment is like a double edged sword. No?

    @ vuvuzela

    Don't take my earlier comment too seriously. I just thought I recognised your handwriting and wanted to let you know. 🙂

  9. @Mohamed

    Yes. The problem started when Ministry of Agriculture was vouchsafed to a DENTIST !

    The ONLY thing he did well in life was prescribing COLGATE to "hadi gillas"!

    NOTHING else!

  10. It is interesting to note that Dr. Solih from CCHDC requires trained entomologists for controlling mosquito nuisance in Maldives? This is one of the few area we have lots of expertise and information in this country. In the past, WHO has trained 100’s of CHWS , vector control officers and developed tones of guidelines, procedures, manuals regarding vector control. Even grade 7 standard children will know how malaria and dengue is spread from mosquito’s .If Dr. Solh need expertise in this area, I suggest he invite CHWs in Maldives who know how Dengue is spread, the types of mosquitoes, where they breed and control measures etc. If Dr. Solih is suspecting a different strain of Dengue viruses and different vector, then he need Entomologists to verify that. Please try not to put health issues in today’s political agenda.

  11. Dengue fever is one of the most life taking sickness.Its symptom has simillarity to Malaria but the virus spread so fast where in the third world countries gives wrong treatment and many lives are lost, which need funding for proper identification and treatment.

  12. Quote: "Efforts to eradicate dengue are hampered by “the absence of any laws” to penalise people and owners of buildings who habitually refuse to clean out water containers that are fertile breeding grounds for mosquitoes, according to Dr Solah".

    Cmon Dr Solah. I've always known you to be an odd yet thoroughly decent fellow, but are you also becoming one of those who blame "lack of laws" for failure to do anything? If you need laws for everything, i think we can't even eat or shit without a law saying we are allowed to eat and shit. It's becoming that silly now. Really.

    For instance, why can't health authorities here use canisters to decrease mosquitoes? (This was done earlier but don't know what happened now. Ah yes,it must be because there is no law for using canisters I think, much like a manual). Also, why can't those in charge create awareness amongst public? Etc., etc. (Laws? Opposition? Really?)

    Having an 11-month old child, this is something we worry everyday, and in order to reduce the risk, we use lots of 'mosquito repellant stickers', the famous racket (with the electric charge) etc. None of these entirely eliminate mosquitoes coming in, but at least it reduces the number of bites on our kid..

    It's a real pity when we face so many challenges, and those in charge even do NOT want to TRY to do anything about it. If they tried at least we'll be less agitated. But to go on everyday on public without doing anything and blaming everything on "lack of laws" is the shittiest joke we've seen recently...!

  13. Dr. Solih, and Dr. Jamsheed try to do some thing about the Dengue epidemic instead sitting on your fat ass!. Don't blame for not having a law on this.It is CCHDC's responsibility to prevent and protect the people of this country from this nasty disease.

  14. Sad to read the comments and find rubbish within them. Its no different from minivannews (by mdp)and on dhipost (by yamin). Comments are filthy every where. Why don't we all live like brothers and sisters. I mean like civilised adults.

  15. I logged in to become more aware of the dengue spreading mosquitoes. i was very serious serious when I opened this and now I'm on the floor laughing cux apparently it's not just the presidents and ex-presidents interested in politics.
    PS: You guys should join the dirty game too!
    And, please have some self respect and stop calling others names (=
    Bless you all !

  16. Dengue - Dengue - Dengue
    Dengue in Maldives.
    keep clean ur area & save ur self from Dengue fever.
    Dengue jehigen anekhaaveskuda kuhjaku maru vehjje( sun news)


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