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Saturday December 21, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday December 21, 2013 MYT 8:30:17 AM
by isabelle lai
PETALING JAYA: While the thought of contracting H1N1 may cause alarm, figures show that a deadlier killer is on the rise – dengue.
While just two people died from H1N1 this year, dengue has already claimed 83 people.
As of Dec 14, dengue cases rose by a whopping 87.5% (18,299), with 39,222 cases recorded this year compared to 20,923 last year.
The number of deaths, meanwhile, jumped by 137% to 83 deaths from 48 deaths in the same time period.
Health Ministry disease control division director Dr Chong Chee Kheong said many people still viewed dengue as a mild disease despite the fact that 10% to 15% of dengue cases were severe.
He attributed the apathetic attitude to several possible reasons – including a belief that fogging could control the disease.
“This is wrong as fogging only kills adult mosquitoes. Fogging is to buy time to achieve source reduction to reduce the number of breeding places,” he told The Star.
Dr Chong said another reason was that people were often bitten without falling ill.
They would definitely get infected if they were bitten by an Aedes mosquito carrying the dengue virus, he said.
Although the Government was doing its best to contain the disease, the primary vector Aedes aegypti breeds indoors.
“We cannot check all home interiors. The secondary vector, Aedes albopictus, breeds outdoors, so keeping our surroundings clean is essential in reducing breeding sites,” he said.
Dr Chong said the public was still not aware of how to employ personal protection for themselves against Aedes mosquito bites, especially in dengue outbreak situations.
Firstly, they needed to recognise that the main biting hours are dusk and dawn although mosquitoes could still bite at any time.
“When outside at these times – using bright clothing, long sleeves and mosquito repellent is a good idea,” he advised, adding that the use of mosquito nets should also be revived.
Dr Chong said spraying insecticide indoors in the evenings would also help, adding that the spray should be targeted under furniture.
He said those who fell ill or developed a fever within seven days of a mosquito bite should consult a doctor and alert him to the possibility of dengue.
“Find out if you are staying in a dengue area by going to the website http://idengue.remotesensing.gov.my/idengue/index.php. You can also just Google search “I dengue”,” he said.
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Health, dengue, aedes, health ministry, fomca
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