Thomson Reuters Foundation

Countries across Asia are seeing a spike in dengue cases, and Thailand may see a further increase this year. Over the past 50 years, the annual number of dengue cases has risen 30-fold. The disease is now endemic in 128 countries, with most cases occuring in Asia.

It is hoped that a new dengue vaccine, approved in Mexico, the Philippines, and Brazil last month, will be a valuable tool to use in the fight against dengue.

"In Thailand, the 2016 caseload may be on par with the last big outbreak in 1987, when there were about 170,000 cases, said Dr. Usa Thisyakorn, professor of pediatrics at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and chairwoman of Asian Dengue Vaccination Advocacy (ADVA).

"'We have had a lot of patients in this season. It's a big predictor that we'll have a big problem with dengue this year. If even in the cool season we have dengue, then it will be worse in the following year' in the hot and rainy seasons, Usa said on the sidelines of the Asia Dengue Summit organised by ADVA.

"'It is quite, quite bad. Last year, in 2015, we had 140,000 cases. We predict that this year, we will also have a bad season,' said Usa, speaking late on Wednesday."


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