BANGKOK, July 8 (Xinhua)-- The dengue outbreak, which has been surging sharply in Thailand during the current rainy season, is feared to strike 120,000 cases for the whole year, a sharp rise from the previous years, health officials said Monday.
There have been 59,318 dengue fever cases and 68 deaths reported throughout the country so far this year. In the past week, 5,276 new cases and six deaths were recorded, with the highest concentration of cases in the northern region, according to state broadcaster MCOT.
Opas Karnkavinpong, deputy director general of the Department of Disease Control under the Public Health Ministry, said the agency was working to keep the number of infections below 100,000 this year, but it could reach as high as 120,000.
In 2012, 74,250 people in the country contracted the mosquito- borne viral disease, with 79 deaths.
Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong said the ministry had launched a campaign to curb the outbreak by employing more than 1 million volunteers from July 10 to 17 to combat mosquitoes in residential areas, schools and temples while educating people about the disease.
Dengue is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, with symptoms including fever, fatigue as well as joint and muscle pains.