Doctors in Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchatani took action weeks ago and changed the medication for malaria sufferers after recovery rates dipped below World Health Organisation standards and the Thai national average for those northeastern provinces. This is thought to have been caused by a growing incursion of a more difficult strain of the virus from Cambodia. This mutating strain according to international medical researchers, requires ‘urgent action’ after studying its development.

The family of a beautiful 25-year-old Thai woman, an airline hostess, have had their lives punctured by heartbreak and sadness after she was bitten by a deadly female mosquito in Chiang Mai and died weeks later due to internal bleeding and organ failure. It comes as Thailand’s health authorities in the north are battling a spike in dengue infections and deaths this year. Separately, in the northeast, the arrival of a new malarial virus which has proved more difficult to treat with drugs, saw falling rates of recovery in Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchatani provinces until doctors intervened and switched medications.

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Apitchaya Jareondee who died in a Chiang Mai hospital at the end of July after complications from the dengue virus caused her organs to fail and internal bleeding. The 25-year-old Lion Air hostess was taking a break with her family in the northern province when a number of them contracted dengue from female mosquitoes. One bite from a single mosquito is thought to be responsible for the woman’s condition developing and leading on to her death. This year, Thailand is experiencing a spike in dengue infections and deaths with twice as many incidents over a 5-year average. There is also a new threat of a more drugs resistant malaria virus seen in northeastern provinces which has spread from Cambodia.

Thai authorities have declared war on the mosquito across the country as public health workers battle the twin threats of malaria and dengue fever in what is turning out to be a challenging year.

One of the latest victims of the deadly insect is Apitchaya Jareondee, a beautiful and vivacious Thai woman who succumbed to severe complications brought on by the dengue virus injected into her system after one bite from a tiny female mosquito. The 25-year old woman died last Monday, the 29th of July, after developing internal bleeding and organ failure brought on as the virus attacked and ravaged her body.

Thai woman was staying with her family when preyed upon by a disease spreading mosquito

Apitchaya was an airline stewardess with Lion Air in Thailand. She had been taking time off her job and staying with her family in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand last month when she was preyed upon by the insect. Normally it takes 7 to 14 days for the virus to affect the system so it is likely the Thai woman was bitten sometime in early July.

Diagnosed with dengue fever at Chiang Mai hospital

The airline hostess and other family members attended the Lanna Hospital in Chiang Mai seeking professional help after they began to suffer from listlessness and headaches. They were examined by doctors at the facility and were quickly diagnosed as suffering from dengue fever after being preyed upon by females mosquitoes who harbour and nurture the virus in their minute bodies.

2019 infections and death from dengue in Thailand are twice the 5-year average up to June 30th

The tragic and heartbreaking death of the Chiang Mai beauty at the end of July comes as Thailand’s rate of infection and deaths from dengue fever infections is currently running at twice the 5 years average based on figures to the end of June. Thai doctors in the northeast of Thailand are also battling the arrival of a new strain of malaria spread by mosquitoes which is more resistant to normal drug treatments. This has sparked quiet concern among the public in northern Thailand as the number of people dying for mosquito bites despite being treated is higher this year leaving bereft families grasping for answers.

Nearly 70 people have died this year so far from the dengue virus in Thailand as authorities fight back

Thai officials estimate that by the end of this year, up to 130,000 people may come to have been infected by dengue. Already up to the end of July, nearly 70 people have died from dengue alone including 25-year-old Apitchaya. Despite the spike in infections and deaths, the progress that health authorities have made fighting the evil mosquito and its exploits can be seen when compared with the outcome from 1987, the worst year on record. That year, there were 174,000 people infected but no less than 1,000 people lost their lives in the kingdom.

War on mosquitoes in northern Thailand

This year local authorities in northern Thailand are pulling out all the stops in efforts to locate and kill mosquitoes wherever they can be found. Government workers and volunteers are being deployed to use sprays and fumigation to take out billions of the insects that stalk the land. Loei province in northern Thailand is one of the Thai provinces that suffers most seriously from the disease and has already seen up to 1,000 cases and 2 deaths. Thai public health authorities are asking all property owners to take steps to wipe out mosquitoes and their breeding grounds within their properties as a priority.

Female mosquito breeds a range of infections

What makes the mosquito so dangerous to Thai people and foreigners living in Thailand is the range of infections it can carry including malaria and in the case of dengue, the virus, the female mosquito can manufacture and spread the disease at the same time. 

In it’s most lethal form the virus nests and breeds in the body’s organs causing damage and bleeding

The mosquito, in this instance, actually uses the human body to both infect and later to help in the spread of the disease once the virus has run its course through any human being who is fortunate to have survived its disruption to the body. There are four different types of dengue virus, hence the unpredictability of outcomes when the varying nature of the health of each human being is taken into account. In the case of 25-year old Apitchaya, it ran its most deadly course nesting and reproducing within her organs.

Some sick people are protected but most should stay well clear of a mosquito bite

It is an irony that many victims of the disease can be quite healthy, while in some instances people suffering from prior health problems can be protected from the mosquito. However, the mosquito is, at the same time, a particular threat to those with the most underlying health problems such as diabetes or liver problems.

In most cases, people just come down with a headache and fever but some cases are fatal

In most cases where humans come down with an infection, it results in severe headaches and fever. This can lead to swelling and nausea. With many people, an infection from a mosquito bite results in a prolonged period of fatigue and a general feeling of being ill. The exceptional case is where the virus finds the conditions for a breakthrough causing severe complications as it penetrates and wreaks havoc with the body’s vital organs.

Dengue and malaria are two different but just as deadly threats to human beings

Dengue is often confused with malaria which is an infection caused by a plasmodium parasite and can be just as deadly. This year it is reported that Thai doctors in Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani provinces have taken steps to change the medication being used to treat those suffering from that infection borne by mosquitoes.

Strain of malaria seen in northeastern Thailand that is more drug-resistant identified by doctors

This is due to a new form of the virus which has been developing in Southeast Asia and has spread to Thailand from Laos and Cambodia. Doctors took the decisive step this summer after they noticed that recovery levels in both provinces had dipped below the World Health Organisation’s benchmarks for treating malaria.

Thai doctors change medication to fight malaria in Si Sa Kate and Ubon Rtachtani provinces

The medication is reported to have been changed from dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and primaquine to artesunate-pyronaridine and pyronaridine. Figures released showed that whereas the national recovery rate from malaria in Thailand is 94.7%, it had fallen sharply to 81.8% in Si Sa Ket and 90% in Ubon Ratchathani. The use of the new drug treatment combination is reported to have resulted in an improvement.

Rates of infection from malaria, however, are down overall this year in Thailand with a drop of 23%.

Concern among medical researchers at mutating virus developing in Cambodia and taking hold here

However, there are warnings about the potential of the mutating malaria virus that is constantly developing in other Southeast Asian countries and is now infiltrating Thailand. Researchers have been urgently studying the malaria strain that was seen and developed in Cambodia from 2007 to 2013. They now report that this form of malaria is gaining the upper hand and is said to be still evolving with the fear that it may become even more resistant to drugs. 

Lancet study ‘highlights that urgent action is needed’

A study by researchers was recently published in the medical journal The Lancet on the subject. Olivio Miotto was co-leader of the project. ‘The speed at which these resistant malaria parasites have spread in Southeast Asia is very worrying,’ wrote Mr Miotto who co-led the work. ‘Other drugs may be effective at the moment but the situation is extremely fragile and this study highlights that urgent action is needed,’ he also warned.

Fight against mosquitoes starts with us all

The fight against mosquitoes starts with all of us. The whining little insect, the female of the species being the danger, has a population of 110 trillion. They kill 850,000 human beings every year. The deadly insect has a needle-type syringe mouth called a proboscis which simultaneously sucks blood from the body and injects viruses, parasites and infection into the human bloodstream. It spreads 17% of the world’s infectious diseases and as well as injecting the dengue virus, malaria and a host of other deadly infections it can also inject worms and parasites. It harbours 15 different viruses.

Buy your can of spray – kill mosquitoes

So buy your can of spray and fumigate any areas of your home. Kill mosquitos. You may be saving your health and that of others like the beautiful 25-year-old Apitchaya Jareondee whose family last month was punctured by heartbreak due to the evil wrought by a bite from one lone female insect.

For further reading:

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