Asia-Pacific experts drawing up dengue-fever battle plan

Other News Materials 6 May 2008 06:05 (UTC +04:00)

Experts from 22 Asia-Pacific countries are meeting in Singapore to draw up an eight-year battle plan against dengue fever, participants said Tuesday, dpa reported.

Details in the Asia-Pacific Dengue Strategic Plan are being finalized during the week-long meeting, with results to be presented in September to regional health ministers.

It is crucial that the plan be compelling enough to attract both the money and political will to fight the disease, said Dr John Ehrenberg, the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Western Pacific regional adviser.

Dengue fever respects no borders.

"It is an urban disease, a product of our global village, where people move around a lot," said Dr Michael Nathan, chief of vector ecology at WHO's department of control of neglected tropical diseases.

The Asia-Pacific region accounts for more than 70 per cent of dengue cases, WHO said. Some 50 million to 100 million cases have been reported worldwide annually, 30 times higher than 50 years ago.

There have been 1,734 dengue cases in Singapore during the first four months of this year, 36 per cent more than the same period of 2007.

The plan is expected to cover strategies on surveillance, case management, changing behaviour and combating the dengue-spreading Aedes mosquito.