Hanoi (VNA) - The Lao Ministry of Health has advised people across the country to clear potential mosquito breeding sites as the current outbreak of dengue fever has claimed 27 lives and more than 11,000 people have contracted the virus so far this year.

According to Lao Minister of Health Bounkong Syhavong, most of the infections and deaths were recorded in Vientiane and the southern provinces.

The ministry has sent some specialists to discuss the control of dengue with health staff in the southern region, he said.

Reports of the ministry’s Communicable Disease Control Department show that as of July 7, 11,561 people had been diagnosed with dengue fever and 27 have died.

Bounkong has encouraged the government and private sectors, especially health departments around the country, to step up publicity campaigns to prevent the spread of the virus.

He advised health workers to educate individuals and communities so that they understand the dangers of the disease and take active steps to prevent it.

Kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools are all advised to clear out any stagnant water that could harbour mosquito larvae, on a weekly basis.

Improvement of the diagnosis and treatment of dengue at provincial and district hospitals and dispensaries is necessary to prevent unavoidable deaths, he stressed.

As many as 5,584 dengue fever cases were reported in Laos in 2017, with 14 deaths. In the first nine months of 2018, over 4,600 people were infected with the disease, with 14 those died.

According to the World Health Organisation, dengue is one of the fastest emerging infections and is currently the most rapidly spreading viral disease known. There is also no specific treatment or vaccine available to prevent death.-VNA