While we all dream of not hearing that annoying small
buzzing sound in our ears and not having the annoying itchy bump that goes
along with it, I am sorry to say the mosquitoes will not be leaving us any
time soon! Chiang Mai and indeed, throughout Thailand, there is a major
Dengue fever problem.
The Aedes mosquito is repsonsible for the transmission of
Dengue fever, they bite at dusk and dawn but may bite at any time during the
day, especially indoors, in shady areas, or when the weather is cloudy. The
World Health Organization says around 2.5 billion people or two-fifths of
the world population are at risk from dengue and that there may be 50
million cases worldwide ayear. The diseasse is considered endemic in more
than 100 countries of which The WHO says some 2.5 billion people, two
fifths of the world’s population, are now at risk from dengue and estimates
that there may be 50 million cases of dengue infection worldwide every year.
The disease is now epidemic in many parts of Thailand.
Unfortunately, Thailand offers the mosquito an optimal
climate for living and breeding. However there are a few small tips you can
utilize to minimize the breeding habits around your immediate home and work
area. While in the past everyone has poked and prodded and looked into all
sorts of khlongs and jars (most of which are teeming with fish, frogs and
turtles) it has most likely been in vain. The fish eat the mosquito larvae
and the rural water storage units (big jars generally) are usually covered
up with a fine mesh fabric or totally covered lids. The places most people
tend to overlook are where the mosquito are notorious for breeding: plant
pot catchers, those little dishes or containers under your potted plants.
These small carriers of water are constantly being refilled by rain or by
people lovingly watering their plants. It does not take a lot of water for
the mosquitoes to breed, so tip these out.
Toys left unattended in the yard and pets unattended
water and food bowls are other common breeding grounds. Any empty bottles or
small containers left out as rubbish unnoticed will immediately fill up and
produce mosquito larvae. Unclogged storm drains, just use your imagination
and look for anything that can hold even a small amount of water.
Make it a habit to check and change any containers with
standing water, bird baths, pets water bowls, childrens’ wading pools,
potted plants, even tree stumps and bamboo stumps are natural water
containers and should be checked at the very least every 5 days.
In order to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the house
check door fittings and screens as in the humid weather wooden doors can
warp, even slightly. If you are one of those who love the electric mosquito
zapper tennis racket then be sure to check under tables, desk, in the
bathroom and behind headboards and closets. Anywhere cool with a resting
place. Mosquitoes also crave humidity so patrol the bathroom regularly.
Before running out and buying the biggest container of
Baygon or bug spray please remember not all mosquitoes are bad! Mosquitoes
play an important part of the eco-system and act as pollinators for plants
and the food chain for bats, birds, frogs, and spiders, just to name a few.
Fumigating your whole yard or neighborhood without any knowledge can have
some adverse health effects if you have small children, elderly people,
people with pre-existing health conditions, pets and other domestic animals.
Mark Isenstadt has worked as a field biologist throughout
Thailand for, and is still on the hunt for, mosquitoes and you may see him
out and about somewhere. If you want to know all the facts please visit the
Museum of World Insects on Sirimangkalajarn where K. Manop or Dr. Rampa can
answer all your mosquito questions and you will be amazed!
[email protected] for further information.
Urges people to take precautions
The Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office is urging
the public to take precautions against mosquitoes this rainy season as
dengue fever has reached epidemic levels.
Mrs. Cholisa Chariyalertsak, the group chief of the
Disease Control of the Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office at the
press conference held at the Chiang Mai City hall recently.
“This year it is a really serious epidemic and people
must protect themselves from the mosquitoes that spread dengue fever” said
Mrs. Cholisa Chariyalertsak, the group head of the Disease Control of the
Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office.
She stated that every rainy season each year dengue fever
spreads out because of the rapid breeding of mosquitoes. “This year is one
of the worst years for the disease, it is in an epidemic situation of this
potentially fatal disease,” she added.
The latest reports show that Chiang Mai has had 2,762
confirmed patients and at least two confirmed deaths from January 1 to
August 17 with most of the serious cases found in Hang Dong. However, other
districts have also been affected.
The Head of Disease Control noted that the cause of death
was that the patients and their relatives did no realize that they were sick
of dengue fever delayed going to the hospital.
She also asks people to be aware and careful of the
mosquito bites, “if any one feels that she or he has a fever with a
headache, muscle pains, but no cough or no nasal congestion, they should go
to see the doctors as soon as possible for medical check up for the
She noted that the only way to prevent the disease was to
avoid mosquito bites, using repellent and removing their habitats.”
Nationwide the number of dengue fever patients surged
with the Health Minister’s report from August 24 noting up to that date
there had been 70 deaths from dengue fever deaths recorded across Thailand.
Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisi noted that as of that date some
60,000 people had been diagnosed, up 83 percent from last year with an
average of 230 new cases diagnosed every day. The regional breakdown for the
disease thus far in 2010 is: 14,361 cases in the South, including Phuket;
15,871 in the Central region; 8,843 cases in the North; and 15,517 cases in
The outbreak is so severe that Jurin has instructed
provincial health chiefs to monitor the situation closely and urge people
with “suspicious” symptoms to see a doctor immediatley.