Years of war have weakened Yemen's healthcare system and polluted water supplies, making citizens vulnerable to otherwise preventable illnesses
Lahj governorate hit by mosquito-borne dengue fever outbreak
Yemen’s Office of Public Health and Population (OPHP) issued a report in late December on the rapid spread of mosquito-borne dengue fever in the Tebn district of Lahj governorate in the country’s south.
Dr. Shallal Hassel, coordinator of the early warning program within the Department of Epidemiological Surveillance at OPHP in Lahj, told Almasdar online that dengue fever is endemic to the area and has already claimed two lives in the governorate.
OPHP issued a report in December documenting 1288 recorded cases of dengue fever in Lahj in the last two months of the year. Taiz governorate in southwest Yemen recorded the highest number of dengue fever cases nationwide last year, according to its local health office, which said nearly 8,000 people were infected.
In Lahj, the disease is most concentrated in the district of Tebn, accounting for over 50 percent of reported cases. A further 14 districts have also reported dengue fever, with the districts of Halmeen and Tor Al Baha reporting over 100 infected patients each. The rising rates of dengue is thought to be due to an increase in makeshift refugee camps and overcrowding.
Health officials have prepared a list of urgent demands to tackle the outbreak which include large-scale insecticide spraying, public education and health campaigns to warn people about the dangers, symptoms and steps crucial for prevention, and increased surveillance and disease monitoring.
Yemen enters 2020 tackling several other disease outbreaks including cholera and swine flu. Years of war have weakened the country's healthcare system and polluted water supplies, making citizens vulnerable to these otherwise highly preventable illnesses.