PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry says it is facing a tough fight against dengue due to the aggressiveness of the disease.
“What we are seeing now is something very different from before, in terms of numbers and also the aggressiveness of the disease, and the aggressiveness on chance of mortality,” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam in an interview that was aired in Al-Jazeera yesterday.
He added that the effective management of the outbreak revolved around control as there was no effective treatment for dengue.
“This is unfortunate, as we don’t have a vaccine; we don’t have an effective anti-viral treatment for it.
“The entire management of dengue revolves around control,” said Subramaniam.
The Star recently reported that the current surge of dengue cases was the result of a change in variation of the dengue virus. It was reported that there was usually an outbreak whenever there was a change in the dengue virus serotype as fewer people would be immune to the serotype after the change.
The current serotype DEN-2, which was discovered some time mid-last year, is more virulent.
Dengue infections are caused by four closely related viruses, namely serotypes DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4.
Deaths from dengue fever have nearly tripled this year. It was reported that 10,712 cases and 19 deaths had been reported up to Feb 6 compared to 2,836 cases and eight deaths over the same period last year.
Based on previous reports, Malaysia experienced its worst dengue outbreak in 2008 with 49,225 cases, while the highest death toll was in 2010 with 134 fatalities from 45,901 reported dengue cases.
The figures dropped in 2011 until last year when it began to increase again.
In Kuantan, Pahang health department director Datuk Dr Norhizan Ismail said the state recorded an upswing in dengue cases this year.
Until Feb 16, the number of cases were 165, an increase by 74 cases when compared to the same time period last year.
“Kuantan has the highest number with 104 cases, followed by Jerantut (15cases), Temerloh (14), Maran (10), Raub (six), Pekan (five), Bentong (three) and Rompin, Bera, Lipis and Cameron Highlands at two each,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Dr Norhizan said there were currently three active outbreak localities. They were Taman Balok Makmur in Kuantan; Taman Seri Kemuning in Temerloh and Felda Klau 1 in Raub.