YANGON—Dengue fever has killed a total of 68 people across Myanmar in the past eight months, while more than 10,000 others have been infected, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS).
In an announcement released on Wednesday, the Department of Public Health under the MOHS stated that 13,048 people were hospitalized with the disease nationwide between Jan. 1 and Aug. 10, including the 68 fatal cases.
Irrawaddy Region had the highest number of infections with 2,350 cases and 8 deaths, followed by Yangon Region with 2,031 cases and 19 deaths.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that can infect people of all ages but children below the age of 15 are most affected. According to MOHS data, more than 88 percent of dengue cases reported this year were patients under the age of 15.
The peak season for transmission of dengue in Myanmar is from July to August.
According to the MOHS, the first dengue outbreak in Myanmar was in Yangon in 1970, with 1,654 cases and 91 deaths. By 1974, the disease had spread across the country. Dengue fever has become much more common since then; in 2015, all states and regions reported cases of dengue.
The MOHS developed a national strategy for dengue prevention and control for the first time in 2016, with the help of the World Health Organization (WHO), to reduce dengue mortality and strengthen preventive measures against the illness.
An official from the ministry said the mortality rate has decreased this year in comparison to the same period last year.
WHO said in August 2018 that while a cyclical trend of increased outbreaks every two or three years has been observed, the infection rates overall are on the decline in Myanmar.