KAJANG: There has been an alarming rise in dengue cases in the country – more than three times the number recorded over the same period last year.
As of Wednesday, a total of 6,155 cases were reported, an increase of 243% over the same period in 2013.
The number of deaths has also doubled, with 10 reported so far compared with only five in January last year.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said Selangor had the most number of dengue cases with 3,168, making up 51% of the total number of cases.
“Two of the 10 deaths were in the Hulu Langat district,” he told reporters after a visit to dengue hotspots here yesterday.
Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya recorded 666 and 502 cases respectively. There were 333 cases in Negri Sembilan, Malacca (241), Kelantan (173), Penang (166), Sabah (110), Terengganu (100), Sarawak (85), Kedah (66), Pahang (53) and Perlis (20).
He said the sharp increase of cases was worrying and urged the public to be more vigilant in ensuring homes and surroundings were not breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitos.
“Generally, people are highly aware of the dangers of dengue but they tend to overlook places that may turn out to be Aedes breeding grounds,” he said.
The latest figures indicate that the rise in dengue infections might be worse this year, if efforts to destroy the Aedes mosquitoes were not intensified,
A total of 43,346 cases were recorded last year, with 92 deaths.
“Selangor had the highest number of cases with 23,852 or 55% with 25 deaths,” Dr Subramaniam said, adding that Petaling, Hulu Langat and Gombak districts had been categorised as dengue hotspots.
More than four million premises were checked nationwide and about 15,000 compounds were issued amounting to RM7.7mil.
“The ministry will step up its efforts, particularly in dengue hotspots through its on-going Ops Gempur Aedes, to destroy mosquito breeding grounds,” said Dr Subramaniam.
“From Jan 1 to 22, about 168,000 premises were checked nationwide and 411 compounds were issued with the fines amounting to RM205,500,” he said.
the measures being taken to address the dengue menace includes biological control using Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (a type of bacteria) spray to kill mosquito larvae.
“We will use more temephos spray (a pesticide) to kill larvae and adult mosquitos, and autocidal traps (a new method to trap and kill larvae and mosquitos),” he said.
The ministry’s Vector Borne Disease Sector head Dr Rose Nani Mudin told The Star that the increase in dengue cases was due to various factors.
“Of late, there have been more cases globally and the disease is being spread faster because of human mobility.
“Another factor is the weather. Rainwater collected in rubbish bins, even as little as one teaspoonful, is enough for Aedes mosquito to breed,” she said.
Dr Rose said about 70% of Aedes breeding grounds were in residential areas as the mosquitos were attracted to highly populated areas.
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