Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: The Jeddah health department recorded 48 cases of dengue fever in the city over the past two weeks, but there was no cause for alarm, a health official said Thursday. There were also 10 cases recorded in Jazan, according to reports. "We have confirmed 48 cases of dengue fever over the past two weeks," said Sami Badawood, director of the health department in Jeddah. "We have informed the municipality about the source of each case," he said. Badawood told Arab News there was no need to panic because the authorities have the situation under control. Badawood said the cases constitute a small percentage of the four million-strong Jeddah population.
There were 20 cases reported last week, compared to 80 cases recorded in the same period last year, he said. He said it was a "great improvement" from last year. The reduction was mainly due to preventive measures taken by the Ministry of Health, the Jeddah Municipality and members of the public, he said. Badawood said government hospitals and primary health care centers have diagnosed and treated infected people, while teams had been sent out to spray insecticides in certain areas. He said open tanks and large utensils with stagnant water are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. He advised people to be aware of this and use pesticides in their neighborhoods and houses.
He said dengue fever was found mostly in the central part of Jeddah, and urged people to use fresh water for their daily needs. The health department and the municipality are holding joint meetings to contain the growing number of cases in the city. They also have regular public awareness campaigns on how to get rid of mosquitoes that spread the disease, he said. A panel, meanwhile, identified 18 neighborhoods in Jeddah as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and urged the National Water Company to remove water from such places with water trucks.
Abdul Aziz Al-Ghamdi, spokesman of the Jeddah Municipality, attributed the increase in dengue cases to the departure of many expatriates who were part of cleaning and spraying teams following the labor correction process, lack of water in some districts, and the presence of several underdeveloped neighborhoods. In Jazan, Ahmad Al-Sahli, director of infectious diseases in the city, said the municipality was fighting the disease by fumigating affected areas. The Ministry of Agriculture was focusing on eliminating big swamps and spraying farms and animal shelters. Al-Sahli said the ministry has implemented its programs at several schools and trained 12 nurses and four doctors. Jazan residents have blamed the authorities for the recent outbreak. Ibrahim Nadir, a resident of Rawdah district, said the authorities had failed to remove large pools of stagnant water after the recent rain.
A person infected with dengue fever usually has a high fever, muscle aches, joint pain, rashes and headaches. Recovery normally takes a few weeks, but a tiny percentage of patients can develop fatal complications from severe bleeding and organ failure. There is no drug or vaccines to fight dengue fever. The most effective way to prevent the spread of the disease is to control the mosquito population. Dengue fever is widespread in more than 100 countries in the tropical and sub-tropical regions, where the climate is warm and wet. In recent years, dengue fever has also become a threat in southern Europe. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has reported more than 1,000 dengue cases in Madeira in 2012. Dengue cases were also reported in France and Croatia in 2010. According to a study carried out recently, there is a higher risk of dengue cases within three to four months after favorable temperatures and rainfall.
© Arab News 2014Mar 2014