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Cambodia is facing an epidemic of haemorrhagic dengue fever, aid agencies have warned.
The Cambodian Red Cross says that there have been 16986 unconfirmed cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever and 174 deaths throughout the country since the start of the outbreak. In June alone there were 132 deaths from dengue fever, a fivefold increase compared with the previous month.
Dengue fever is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito and causes a severe flu-like illness. No vaccine or specific drug treatment exists, although intravenous fluids are given to maintain fluid volume.
Although dengue fever itself rarely causes death it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. This complication can cause a rash, high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fits, and haemorrhagic shock.
The Cambodian authorities have been spraying insecticide in the streets to try to control the Aedes mosquito, which breeds primarily in manmade containers where water collects, such as discarded tyres and metal drums. Local radio stations have also been warning people to cover containers used to store water.
Last month the Cambodian government called on its neighbours to help contain and manage the outbreak. Thailand responded by sending supplies and medical teams.
Warmer weather and heavy rains seem to be helping to spread the virus through the region, however, with Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore all reporting a rise in cases and deaths.