Dengue fever cases in Jeddah drop by 38%

Health Affairs Directorate


Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Dengue cases in Jeddah dropped by 38 percent in 2017 compared to previous years, said Abdullah Bin Ali Al-Ghamdi, spokesman for the Health Affairs Directorate. But he did not give a breakdown of patients who received treatment for the disease at hospitals.

"Our department has launched an intensive campaign to exterminate the dengue virus from the city and enhance public health awareness as well as to change the hygiene behavior of citizens and residents," Al-Ghamdi said while talking to Al-Madina Arabic daily.

He said the authorities were successful in reducing the number of mosquito breeding grounds as well as in identifying potential dangers and finding solutions to confront them.

"We have educated nearly 21,000 people about dengue fever, distributed about 280,000 pamphlets and put up 8,233 posters in different parts of the city," he pointed out.

Al-Ghamdi said the awareness campaign helped bring down the number of dengue cases in the city by 50.7 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. The allover drop in dengue cases reached 38 percent in 2017.

The health affairs directorate announced last March when it launched the awareness campaign that it had registered 500 cases during the previous 10 weeks. Dr. Khaled Bawakid, assistant director of health who made the announcement, said the cases were concentrated in four districts: Hamdaniya, Balad, Safa and Aziziya.

"We have to remove the reasons for the spread of dengue cases in the city, especially swamps and accumulated stagnant water. Dengue is a killer disease and patients affected by the virus must be given specialized treatment," he said.

Dengue fever is passed on by mosquito bites, mostly the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, or "tiger mosquitoes".

There are four types of the dengue virus, and the infection causes a wide range of symptoms, including fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash. People infected with dengue often experience long-term fatigue.

Dengue occasionally develops into a life-threatening form, known as severe dengue, which causes abdominal pain and vomiting, breathing difficulty and a rapid decrease in blood platelets that can lead to internal bleeding.

Severe dengue has 2.5 percent fatality rate. Many people infected by the virus first time show few symptoms, but they can still contribute to the transmission of the virus if bitten by a mosquito. Having been infected once does not protect you from the virus. In many cases, the second time you get dengue, the symptoms are more severe.