Mon, 17 Apr 2000

Dengue fever cases decline daily

JAKARTA (JP): The city has observed a steady decline in dengue cases this week, but it still suffered higher levels than last year with more than 4,000 patients treated, an official said on Thursday.

Head of the City Health Agency's animal-related disease section, Tini Suryanti, said hospitals had reported a decrease in the number of patients to only one or two per day, compared to 20 to 30 per day in the middle of last month.

"I think it (the decreased number of dengue patients) is because people are now more careful to protect themselves from eing infected."

"Also because we have conducted fogging activities in 55 subdistricts in the city," she said.

However, Tini said, the number of the dengue patients up to Thursday was higher than that of last year. On Thursday, the city had recorded 4,571 patients with 41 deaths compared to 3,751 dengue infections and 45 deaths for the same period last year.

The total number of confirmed cases on Thursday was sharply higher compared to weeks ago. Early last month, the agency recorded a total of only 1,526 cases.

Tini said the sudden increase in dengue patients this month was possibly caused by late reports from hospitals. "That's why the number quickly jumped to 4,000, compared to last month."

Standard procedures require hospitals to report dengue cases on a daily basis.

Tini said the agency was still on alert because it expects dengue infections to be a problem until May.

"We continue to conduct campaigns on dengue eradication," she said, citing a citywide program that began in November last year in cooperation with neighborhood associations in each of the city's five mayoralties," she said.

The campaign includes educational films on symptoms of dengue fever, treatment and prevention techniques.

Tini said this year's dengue outbreak occurred in the second and third weeks of March, with about 20 to 30 dengue patients hospitalized in a day.

The city was hit by a severe dengue outbreak in 1998 with over 15,000 cases and 133 fatalities.

Contacted separately, spokespersons of the city-owned Tugu Hospital in North Jakarta and Pasar Rebo Hospital in East Jakarta confirmed that the number of dengue patients had decreased.

Liana of Pasar Rebo Hospital's information section said there were only three to five dengue patients treated in the hospital in one day.

"Last month, we sometimes received 10 to 20 people per day," she said, adding that the total number of dengue patients was only 29 people on Thursday.

The hospital was so overcrowded with dengue patients last month that they were forced to be treated in the corridors. Similar conditions were also observed at Tugu hospital.

Head of the hospital's medical record division Birowo said that only one to two people were admitted each day this week. (ind)