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August 08, 2020

To alert double infection of COVID-19 and dengue virus in coming months

While fighting with the spread of coronavirus, we will have to struggle to cope with dengue fever outbreak which occurs in the rainy season.
It is a great encouragement to know that frontline health workers and volunteers are carrying out activities to prevent larvae formation and kill mosquitoes in populated areas these days.
It is best to prevent rather than to treat, and public health awareness is key for prevention. Meanwhile, government investment in public health to promote a healthy lifestyle among the public and proper sanitation facilities at public places is also paramount.
Like the coronavirus, dengue is a viral infection. While many dengue cases only lead to mild illness, it “can cause an acute flu-like illness” and can occasionally develop into “a potentially lethal complication,” according to the World Health Organization.
We have already known that severe dengue is a leading cause of serious illness and death. The WHO recommended that it requires management by medical professionals to cope with the dengue outbreak.
Additionally, the medical journal Lancet said that dengue and COVID-19 are difficult to distinguish “because they have shared clinical and laboratory features.”
When we fight with the dengue outbreak, the capacity and quality of our medical infrastructure would become an issue amidst the battle against the COVID-19.
Dengue should not be taken lightly, as it has directly affected more people than COVID-19. The number of dengue cases is often observed to increase at the beginning of the four-month rainy season, which starts in June.
As the rainy season is drawing near, we should also focus on other diseases, such as waterborne diseases and influenza, along with leptospirosis, which occurs during the rainy season.
According to the Ministry of Health and Sports, the number of dengue cases in 2017, 2018and 2019 reached about 80,000, with some 450 deaths.
There is no typically prescribed medicine to offer treatment for dengue fever, except for relief from pain. And it is worth remembering that the number of yearly deaths caused by dengue fever is higher than COVID-19 fatalities, so far this year.
The regional governments are urged to take note of their regional health infrastructure respectively in the face of the current public health crisis.
The current pandemic provides an opportunity for us to see what we need to improve in our health sector to face the possible double outbreak in the coming months.
We need to vow to pay more attention to the health sector.

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