Suherdjoko, The Jakarta Post, Semarang
A series of dengue outbreaks in Central Java have led to the deaths of 217 people this year, while diarrhea has claimed the lives of 17, an official said Wednesday.
In the period between January and mid-December, at least 11,636 people in 35 regencies of Central Java were infected with dengue, said head of the Central Java Health Office, Hartanto.
"I warn the public to be always on alert. The dengue outbreak can appear any time, especially during rainy season," Hartanto said.
In 2006 the number of people infected with the disease reached 10,826, resulting in 220 deaths, he said.
Hartanto said up to 339,502 people had taken ill with diarrhea in the period between January and September. The outbreak, which killed 16 people, was mostly caused by E. coli bacteria, he said.
"So far this year we've distributed 50,503 packs of 'oralit' medicine to treat diarrhea patients."
In anticipation of the spread of both dengue fever and diarrhea during the rainy season, Hartanto said he had ordered all health offices in the cities and regencies throughout the province to be prepared.
"They must report to the nearest health offices as soon as they detect any outbreak of (dengue or E. coli). Coordinating like this, we hope to be able to contain the spread of the diseases, especially in areas where sanitation is poor," he said.