VIENTIANE, June 18 (Xinhua) -- A total of 1,089 cases of dengue fever have been reported so far this year in Laos, with two deaths, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Monday.
Over 100 local people and officials gathered in Lao capital Vientiane on Saturday for activities to mark ASEAN Dengue Day on June 15 and support Laos' battle against the deadly virus.
Speaking at the event, Director of the Vientiane Health Department Phonepaserth Anouphom said the purpose of the activities was to raise awareness of how to prevent dengue fever and reduce the number of people contracting and dying from the disease.
On the occasion fish were placed in containers of water to advertise how they can be used to eat mosquito larvae, and vehicles drove around the area broadcasting messages about ways to prevent the onset and spread of dengue and prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
The event preceded a week-long activity of placing fish in containers that harbour stagnant water around houses, so they will eat mosquito larvae and prevent the spread of dengue-bearing mosquitoes.
According to the Lao Department of Communicable Disease Control, Ministry of Health, so far this year 1,089 cases of dengue fever and two deaths have been recorded around the country. Most of the cases occurred in southern Laos' Attapeu province with 477 and two deaths, while 164 cases were reported in another southern province of Champassak.
In Vientiane, 102 cases of dengue have been reported, but no deaths. In 2017, Vientiane had 4,550 cases of dengue and two deaths.
In 2017, some 5,584 cases of dengue fever including 14 deaths were recorded countrywide with 16 out of the total 18 provinces reporting cases, according to the report. In 2016, there were 5,618 cases of dengue and 10 deaths, according to the department.
Central and northern provinces of Xieng Khuang, Xaysomboun and Huaphan did not report any cases in 2017 and have not done so this year.
Last year, Lao health officials made a strong effort to prevent and control dengue fever through surveillance, analysis, clearing of potential mosquito breeding sites, and health education.
This year, health authorities are again urging people to clear away potential mosquito breeding sites around their homes and workplaces to help curb the spread of the virus, said the report.
Dengue is an infectious tropical disease transmitted by mosquitoes and characterised by rashes, severe headaches, and joint pain.