Dengue kills just 65 in Cambodia in 2008

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Only 65 people died from dengue fever in Cambodia in 2008, down from 407 last year thanks to preventive measures taken by the government and international agencies, a Health Ministry official said on Monday.

Dengue, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes fever, headaches and agonizing muscle and joint pains, infected 9,300 people during the year compared with 40,000 in 2007, the highest in nearly a decade, said Ngan Chantha, director of the ministry’s anti-dengue program.

“We had the best ever preparation to contain the spread of dengue,” he told Reuters.

Dengue kills an estimated 22,000 people a year around the world and, in the absence of commercially available vaccines, health authorities have to focus on controlling mosquitoes to stop it spreading.

The World Bank, the World Health Organization and the Red Cross provided Cambodia with pesticides to kill mosquitoes this year, and the Asian Development Bank also gave $300,000 to the anti-dengue program.

Cambodia’s health care system was devastated in 30 years of civil war and the government spends just $3 per person a year on health, according to the World Bank.

(Reporting by Ek Madra; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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