Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Health Ministry has reported that in 2023, it managed to bring down the number of dengue cases from 143 thousand to 115 thousand, but climate change has caused cases to spike once again this year.

Director of infectious disease prevention and control at the ministry, Imran Pambudi, said that the diagnostics system must be improved to better recognize dengue spread through zoonotic means as well as due to climate change.

"I think we need the detection like Menteri also mentioned about rapid testing, because this is needed to be distributed in our primary care, since dengue has quite severe (consequences) if we have delayed treatment," Imran added in his speech at the Arbovirus Summit, which was broadcasted on the ministry's official YouTube channel here on Monday.

He said that since the COVID-19 pandemic, dengue fever symptoms have no longer been orthodox, hence people must remain cautious. At least 50 percent of dengue patients have no symptoms, he added.

Hence, he called for a better detection system for the disease, which can differentiate between infections caused by animals and climate change.

"Climate change is not only make the burden (heavier) for health services because there is more and more cases. But also we have also considered that climate change will also bring the burden for the health system," he added.

He cited drought in rural areas as an example. Situations like droughts push people to move to the cities, which causes the population density of cities to increase, leading to the risk of more dengue cases, he explained.

A dense population also makes the mitigation of communicable diseases, like dengue, more complicated.

In his remarks, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that arboviral diseases are a growing public health threat globally and pose a significant economic impact.

He highlighted that the geographical range of arboviruses is expanding due to urbanization, climate change, and the rapid expansion of mosquito populations.

"In 2023, more than six million cases of dengue were reported globally and about three million cases have already been reported this year, even though the most intense transmission season is yet to begin in some areas," Ghebreyesus pointed out.

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Reporter: Mecca Yumna Ning Prisie
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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