Make Indonesia dengue-free by 2025

Fogging to eliminate mosquitoes. (IO/Dumaz Artadi)

Jakarta, IO – Indonesia is a country where dengue fever is endemic. As a tropical country, we are rich in biodiversity. Unfortunately, this includes a wealth of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that cause dengue fever. This viral disease is spread through the bite of this mosquito, which lives happily in clear pools and puddles of water. 

Dengue fever, formerly known as demam berdarah (“bloody fever”), was a constant scourge for some years in our Homeland. However, the WHO has stopped using this term because dengue fever’s clinical appearance does not always include hemorrhage. The fever has an extremely wide spectrum of clinical symptoms – from zero symptoms, fevers, red rashes, and even fatal shock from leaking blood plasma. 

Ministry of Health data shows that dengue fevers are found in all provinces. Up to the 23rd week of 2022, it was reported in 451 regencies and townships, with fatalities occurring in 173 regencies and townships in 31 provinces. “West Java is the province with the highest incidence of fever, generally in densely-populated areas. The highest number of cases occur in these five areas: Bandung City, Regency of Bandung, Bekasi City, Depok City, and Sumedang City,” said dr. Tiffany Tiara Pakasi, MA, Ministry of Health’s Acting Director of Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, in the “Make Dengue-Free Indonesia a Reality” live IG session. 

During the same event, Dr. dr. Anggraini “Anggie” Alam, Sp.A(K), Chairwoman of the Indonesian Pediatricians’ Association Tropical Disease Infection Coordinating Work Unit and Hasan Sadikin Hospital Bandung’s pediatric consultant, reports that dengue fever hits any age, but the highest incidence occurs in children 5-14 years of age. “Parents need to beware when their children suddenly run a high fever, complain of weakness and headaches, feel nausea and/or vomit so bad that it’s hard for them to eat and drink, or if they are suddenly sensitive to light. If these symptoms appear, that means the virus has entered the body. For starters, use a warm water compress on the child, cover them with a thin blanket, and give them sufficient drink so that they can urinate once every four hours. It’s better for them to get favored drinks instead of plain water. If the fever remains despite administration of antipyretics and you find out that a neighbor contracts dengue fever, contact your nearest health facility and have the child checked before it gets worse,” she said.