Dengue fever has killed nearly 100 children in military-run Myanmar in the first seven months of the year, a senior health official said Tuesday, amid fears of a possible epidemic in Southeast Asia.
As of July 31, a total of 8,000 cases of dengue were recorded in children age 14 and under, 98 of them fatal, the health ministry's deputy director Kyaw Nyunt Sein told AFP.
"In July alone, 32 children were killed out of 3,000 cases. This July has been the deadliest month," he said, adding that most of the victims were under the age of five.
Last year, a total of 130 children died out of some 11,000 cases recorded, he said.
Dengue fever is a flu-like illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Unlike the mosquitoes that cause malaria, those carrying dengue bite during the day.
The disease is especially dangerous in children and the elderly, who have little resistance and often die of internal bleeding.
It normally takes its greatest toll in Myanmar in the rainy season, which begins in June. The country does not track adult cases of the disease, Kyaw Nyunt Sein said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed concerns that Asia could see a dengue epidemic this year on a par with that of 1998, when nearly 1,500 people died.
More than 1,100 people have been killed by dengue fever in Indonesia alone this year.