Leading security and health services company, International SOS, is encouraging organisations to be more proactive about dengue awareness and prevention as cases continue to rise and affect tens of millions of people globally.
International SOS has reported of an overall increase of 92% in dengue-related cases in 2022 –Malaysia reported over 27,900 cases in the first half of 2022 (an increase of 83.3% compared to 2021), coupled with an alarming number of deaths due to dengue fever complications in the same period.
“Dengue is an increasing problem, with more cases, outbreaks becoming larger and more common, and the disease appearing in new areas,” said Dr. Chan Yanjun, Medical Director, Singapore & Malaysia, International SOS.
“We all have a part to play to help reduce the number of cases and organisations need to be involved in mosquito control and infection prevention measures, as well as promoting and spreading dengue awareness among the community. Community empowerment is a key aspect of the strategy, as it allows the local population to drive the eradication of the disease in their environment.”
Dr. Chan recommends organisations to be involved in mosquito control and infection prevention measures to reduce community transmission of dengue. These measures include promoting awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease among employees, encouraging good practices for dengue prevention and establishing coordination with local communities to support mosquito control programmes.
Here are some helpful practices to consider to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of mosquitoes breeding:
Cover up bare skin
Wear clothing that covers as much skin as practical – don’t forget your feet and ankles.
Use an effective insect repellent
Use “knock-down” insect spray to kill mosquitoes in your room.
Avoid areas where mosquitoes breed
This includes places with stagnant water such as drains and ponds.
Keep mosquitoes out of your accommodation
Keep windows and doors closed. If you need to have windows and doors open ensure that you at least have mosquito screens closed.
Keep your accommodation free of mosquito breeding areas
Containers and dishes that hold even a small amount of water can breed mosquitoes – dishes under potted plants are a notorious culprit.
“Dengue, like most illnesses, causes a spectrum of diseases – it can be very mild, while some people will experience strong headaches, high fever, and rash. In the most severe cases, it can progress to bleeding and organ failure which can be fatal,” Dr. Chan said.
“Not only is there an impact on infected individuals, outbreaks of dengue can impact healthcare systems when there is a surge in people requiring medical attention and hospitalisation. This is on top of the significant challenges our healthcare systems continue to face due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyone needs to be aware of, and [keep] practising, measures to prevent dengue infections and transmission, including organisations that are operating in dengue-affected areas, and those sending travellers to them,” she concluded.
Dengue is now consistently present in over 100 countries across the globe and is “the leading cause of serious illness and death in some Asian and Latin American countries.”
Asia is reported to represent around 70% of the global burden of the disease.