Monday, July 30, 2007

Shhhh! Don't Tell Grace!

Dengue on Rise in Asia
Monday July 30, 2007 5:16 PM
AP Medical Writer

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - Dengue fever is raging across Asia, prompting the World Health Organization to warn that the region could face the worst outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus in nearly a decade.

The disease, commonly called the 'bone breaker' illness because of the excruciating joint pain it causes, has flared everywhere from ultramodern Singapore to poor Vietnam. There are four different types of dengue, but none have a cure or vaccine.

Cambodia is now one of the most worrisome spots, where the disease has attacked about 25,000 people and killed nearly 300 children this year. That's about three times more than the number of cases for all of 2005, according to WHO.

Sick children have overwhelmed ill-equipped hospitals there, forcing babies burning with fever to wait for beds outside with IV drips attached to their arms.

The last major outbreak to hit Southeast Asia was in 1998, when about 350,000 cases were reported in the region, including nearly 1,500 deaths. Indonesia and Thailand were not included in that tally.

John Ehrenberg, WHO's regional adviser on vector-borne diseases, said it could potentially reach that level this year.

Read the rest here.

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