WHO to South-East Asia: Take concrete measures to control dengue

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New Delhi, Sep 23 (UNI) Taking serious view of the spread of dengue in the region, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning to South-East Asian countries, asking them to take concrete measures immediately to control the spread of dengue.

The severity of the public health threat from dengue led to its inclusion in one of the Resolutions adopted at the 61st Session of the Regional Committee Meeting of the WHO's South-East Asia Region.

''We require our Member States to take tangible steps towards implementing the Asia-Pacific Dengue Strategic plan, especially in the area of strengthening the system for prediction, early detection, cross-border surveillance, preparedness and early response to outbreaks and epidemics,'' said Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.

An effective approach must include community ownership, inter sectoral collaboration and coordination across relevant ministries for the effective implementation of prevention and control of this vector-borne disease, the WHO has said.

''The WHO will provide technical support to the Member States in implementing this plan, especially in the areas of assessing and monitoring the impact of climate change, in prioritising operations research to support evidence-based policy decisions and effective preventive interventions.

''We will also facilitate research and development of a dengue vaccine for children,'' Dr Samlee added.

The situation across this Region is a concern to the WHO. The transmission season for dengue in India, particularly Delhi, began in August, with its peak expected between October and November.

Indonesia has shown a gradual increase of reported cases since 2000 with the most number of cases reported in 2007 (156,041).

It is likely that the figures for 2008 will edge close to last year's as dengue in transmitted year-round in Indonesia, with a tendency to peak between December and February.

The Maldives and Sri Lanka usually see an upswing in the number of dengue cases between May and June and from November to December.

Currently, about 75 per cent population in the Asia-Pacific region is at risk. Dengue is a man-made problem which is linked to globalisation, rapid unplanned and unregulated urban development, improper water storage and unsatisfactory sanitary conditions, which provide breeding grounds for the mosquito.

Movement of people to and from urban areas is another major factor.

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