THERE were 22 dengue-related deaths in 2014, and the state will continue to combat the menace this year.
Perak Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said 2014 was a bad year, with the dengue outbreak as the cumulative dengue cases reached 7,525 last year, compared to 2,519 cases in 2013.
“There was an increase of 5,006 cases, about three times the total number of cases in 2013.
“However, there was a drop in cases in the final week of 2014 and we are working very hard to control the situation,” he said.
“We hope the trend would be that the drop continues this year,” he said during a press conference at the state secretariat building recently.
Dr Mah stressed that it was difficult to control dengue as the Aedes mosquitoes larvae was resilient.
“The larvae survive in drought or dry season for up to six months.
“As soon as larvae come into contact with water, they can hatch and grow,” he said, adding that the recent floods that hit the state has also compounded the matter.
“The life cycle of mosquitoes can also change during the dry season and they reproduce swiftly,” he added.
On another matter, Dr Mah said the state has managed to control and prevent any infectious diseases from spreading at flood-hit areas in the state.
He said personnel from the state Health Department and the Health Ministry had carried out various measures to prevent any outbreaks.
“We have checked all flood relief centres to ensure that they are clean and clear of harmful microorganisms.
“We in Perak are also considered lucky as we do not have any issues with clean water supply,” he said.
“We are, however, urging the public, especially those who are currently busy with cleaning works, to ensure cleanliness and personal hygiene,” he added.
He noted that among the diseases common during floods were cholera, E. coli, leptospirosis, acute gastroenteritis (AGE), conjunctivitis, skin infection and Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD).
“The people need to be aware of these diseases and ensure they drink boiled water and eat properly cooked food,” he said, adding that there are still 5,545 victims at 32 flood relief centres in five districts, including Hulu Perak, Hilir Perak, Manjung, Perak Tengah and Kuala Kangsar.
Dr Mah also said that aside from taking the necessary action against infectious diseases, the state has also taken proactive measures to counter psychological problems that may arise.
“Up to 20% of victims may at some point face psychological problems.
“It is understood that the victims are under stress and they could get easily irritated or agitated and could also suffer from insomnia,” he said.
“We have mobilised our panel of psychiatrists and psychologists to the flood-stricken areas to conduct counselling sessions at the flood relief centres,” he added.