JEDDAH – The Mayor’s Office in Jeddah has said that dengue fever rates have fallen by 20 percent in the last few weeks.
Ahmad Al-Ghamdi of the mayoralty’s Media Office said that the figures were a result of increased pesticide spraying across the city and work to fill areas of stagnant water with earth.
“The Mayor’s Office is still making wide-ranging efforts to reduce the rate of dengue fever in the city even further,” Al-Ghamdi said.
Deputy Mayor Khaled Uqail, speaking at the conclusion of a training course on combating dengue fever on Wednesday, meanwhile, said that the mosquitoes carrying the virus were “one of the most harmful types of insect to human health”.
“They don’t just pass on these illnesses to humans but also have the ability to pass on numerous viruses to animals,” Uqail said. “We all must be aware of the increasing global spread of dengue fever in recent years. Statistics show that it is proliferating in around 100 countries, particularly in Africa, South East Asia, the Americas, and the west Pacific.”
The 20 percent drop in recently detected dengue fever cases signals consistent improvement after sources from the Anti-Dengue Fever Program at the Mayor’s Office said five weeks ago that figures had fallen by 10 percent.
Reservations remain, however, in certain districts of the city. Saudi Gazette reported earlier this week a member of the city’s municipal council as saying that the city’s car showroom trading zone represents a potentially “catastrophic” dengue fever threat to the 10,000 people employed in the area.
Bassam Akhdhar, who is also a member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that showroom owners and staff were highly vulnerable to dengue fever due to the proliferation of mosquitoes in the area resulting from “poor cleanliness and water from nearby lakes and pools attracting mosquitoes”.
“I’m amazed that a market of this size with sales worth SR22 billion a year and where over 10,000 people are employed at over 800 outlets and showrooms can be in such a drastic situation,” Al-Akhdhar said. “A health and environment catastrophe is inevitable if the situation is allowed to continue as it is.”
The councilor, who conducted a tour of the showroom zone last Sunday, said that many dealers and showroom owners had contracted dengue fever inside the facilities where mosquitoes are frequently present, and appealed to the Mayor’s Office and other relevant authorities to “act quickly”. – Okaz/SG