MSF ‘vigilant’ on dengue threat in Rakhine, Sagaing

Medecins Sans Frontieres has expressed concern about the risk of outbreaks of dengue fever and other infectious diseases in flood-affected communities in Rakhine State and Sagaing Region.

The global medical charity said it was expanding its support for the government response to the flooding to meet the needs of those directly affected and to mitigate the risk of water and mosquito-borne diseases.

As well as dengue fever, they included malaria and diarrhoea, MSF said on August 17.

“Dengue fever is endemic to Rakhine State and Sagaing Region, where thousands are currently living in makeshift camps in schools, monasteries and churches following the flooding,” it said.

It cited Ministry of Health figures that 16,000 people had been affected by dengue throughout the country between January and July.

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“This is the peak dengue season and we need to remain vigilant after the floods to prevent further spread,” said Liesbeth Aelbrecht, MSF’s Myanmar country director.

MSF said it planned to distribute 13,000 mosquito nets and 600 rapid diagnostic tests for dengue in Kalay Township in Sagaing, where flooding had affected 80 percent of rural areas and displaced about 22,000 people.

“MSF will also being supporting the Ministry of Health’s general medical activities in Kalay, where many displaced people are suffering from respiratory infections, skin problems and influenza,” it said.

MSF said it had complemented its immediate flood response in Rakhine with increased surveillance for infectious diseases, particularly dengue, and was ready to respond to an outbreak if required.

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