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Virtual schoolgirl haunts Thailand with the faces of more than 1.2 million dengue fever victims

  • A virtual schoolgirl delivered a public health message to Thailand on Tuesday against the devastations of dengue fever in a 42-second video.

  • Known as Ingma, the girl stands in what appears to be a room filled with TV screens displaying the faces of victims who were infected by the mosquito-borne dengue virus.

  • The Department of Disease Control reported 2,549 confirmed cases of dengue fever in 2022 with a total of three deaths.

  • As the country approaches summer, a top disease official has warned of the disease spreading more severely.

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Bangkok’s public relations office shared a video to Facebook on Tuesday of a virtual schoolgirl warning against the spread of dengue fever in Thailand.

In the 42-second video, the virtual girl named Ingma warns viewers against the consequences of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease. She is then seen in a dark room where TV screens begin to light up with the faces of more than 1.2 million victims of dengue fever. Ingma’s own face was generated using the faces of those victims, and her persona as a schoolgirl represents the average age of patients, who are typically between 5 and 14. 

“I am here to tell you viewers that dengue fever is closer and scarier than you think,” Ingma says in the video.  

While dengue fever typically infects children, the elderly and obese individuals are more suseptible to death. Dengue fever’s most common symptoms include fevers, headaches and joint pain, though severe cases can lead to deadly effects such as organ failure and shock.

The disease is increasingly becoming a threat in Asia where 70% of the world’s dengue fever cases occur. Case numbers have been escalating in Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore, the latter of which reported 10,000 cases in the first five months of this year. 

Dengue fever, however, has generally decreased in recent years, with cases dropping 57% between 2019 and 2020. The number of deaths also dropped from 129 to 49 in that time frame.  Between Jan. 1 and May 18 of this year, Thailand reported 1,952 cases and 2 deaths. The Department of Disease Control also reported 2,549 confirmed cases and three total deaths as of this year so far. 

The World Health Organization considers dengue fever as a top 10 threat to global health due to its lack of a universal vaccine. As a result, although individuals may recover from one serotype of dengue fever, they may still be infected by three other variants that can lead to more lethal consequences. 

A top disease official from Thailand, Opas Karnkawingpong, stated that dengue fever may spread more severely during the summer, reported Coconuts Bangkok. 



Image: Bangkok PR

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