Vientiane hospitals run out of beds for dengue patients


The number of people suffering from dengue increases significantly in Laos. - VT

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Some hospitals in Vientiane have converted corridors and meeting rooms into wards due to a lack of space to treat patients, while some facilities have even requested additional beds from the public so they can cope with the growing number of dengue patients.

The number of people suffering from dengue has swelled significantly between May and July.

The number of people suffering from dengue increases significantly in Laos.

Health officials and medical staff at hospitals across the country are endeavouring to deal with the growing number of dengue fever cases, with case numbers exceeding those recorded in 2019, when unusually high numbers were also reported.

In 2019, up until July some 10,778 people were diagnosed with dengue fever and at least 25 people died from the virus. So far this year, 15,661 cases have been recorded and 16 people have died, according to the Ministry of Health’s Communicable Disease Control Department.

The ministry plans to transfer medical staff assigned to central hospitals in Vientiane to the city’s main hospitals, where resources are limited.

Specialists at central hospitals comprise health authorities, medical experts, and infection control experts, who plan to make changes to the standardised management of dengue fever patients.

The Deputy Director General of Setthathirath Hospital, Dr Khamla Choumlivong, told reporters on Monday that more cases of dengue fever have been recorded this year and more people are receiving treatment for the potentially fatal virus.

The number of dengue patients at Setthathirath Hospital was abnormally high in 2019 because of the spread of a dengue virus type that did not normally occur in Laos, she said.

While people who contract dengue and recover have immunity to that particular strain of the virus, the appearance of newer strains increases the possibility of an outbreak.

The Ministry of Health says climate change is partly to blame for the early outbreak of dengue across Laos this year, with abnormal rainfall at the start of the rainy season creating breeding grounds for the mosquitos that carry the disease.

Some days are wet and some are sunny, which is the perfect environment for dengue mosquitoes to breed and thrive, said staff at the ministry’s Communicable Disease Control Department.

The Vientiane Health Department called the number of infections this year “unusually high” compared to the same period in 2019.

Epidemiologists in Vientiane are closely monitoring the situation, with the possibility for infections increasing as the rainy season continues and mosquitoes breed in large numbers.

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