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Dengue Threatens Asia Pacific Region

“The spread of dengue in the region has been attributed by the WHO to “unplanned urban development,” human migration and high population density. The more crowded an area is, the more opportunities there are for the transmission of the virus.”

MANILA, Oct 2 (IPS) – Over the past three decades, dengue fever has affected more and more countries in the Asia-Pacific region and is now regarded as the fastest of emerging mosquito-borne diseases.

From 1991-2004, a dengue pandemic emerged in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region which covers 37 states and areas. It severely affected 10 countries: Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, French Polynesia, Fiji, New Caledonia and China.

Since 2007, there have been an unusually high number of dengue cases in Cambodia, the Philippines, Singapore and Kiribati. The disease is now so widespread in the region that the WHO estimates that 1.8 billion people are at risk of contracting dengue.

Over the last three months, the Indian capital of New Delhi reported 600 cases of dengue of which two turned fatal.

Yet, according to the WHO, dengue is a “neglected disease” that attracts public attention and government commitment only during epidemics. And by then it is usually already too late for effective action.

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