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Saturday October 15, 2005

Cuba offers to share expertise

KUALA LUMPUR: Cuba, which “survived” two massive dengue outbreaks in 1977 and 1981, has offered to share its expertise to help authorities in Malaysia deal with the dengue outbreak.  

Cuban Ambassador to Malaysia Pedro Monzon Barata said the Institute of Tropical Diseases in Havana had been spearheading the effort to rid Cuba of the dengue scourge.  

“The only effective way to check the spread of the disease is to eliminate the dengue vector. 

“Fogging only kills adult aedes mosquitoes, so we have to control at the source. The Aedes aegypti vector causing problems here is the same which threatened Cuba,” he said.  

The Star reported on Thursday that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, was laying eggs outside in spots like tree crevices. 

Cuban scientists who are working on a cure for cancer, AIDS and Hepatitis B have also been testing a vaccine for dengue fever.  

Barata said Cuban authorities managed to bring the dengue threat under control with consistent “year-round” measures, which included fogging conducted by low-flying planes.  

The envoy said community participation had also helped combat the mosquito-borne disease.  

“No epidemiological alert and anti-vector intervention can be successful without the people keeping their surroundings clean,” stressed the academic-turned-envoy. 

Barata said Cuban institutions had been networking with Universiti Sarawak Malaysia on anti-dengue research, adding that his country was prepared to link up with more Malaysian parties in the search for a cure. 

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