Dengue threat looming during Qing Ming season

Fighting dengue: Dr Afif (centre), Lye (fourth right) and association members showing a banner urging people to clean up the grave areas.

THOSE offering prayers at the graves of their ancestors in the Qing Ming Festival have been advised to clean up the grave area before they leave to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Penang Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said they should ensure that no items which could collect water such as joss stick pots and food containers were left behind.

He urged the public to take their prayer items home with them and not leave them lying about the cemetery.

“We do not want to see cemeteries become a new breeding site for mosquitoes,” Dr Afif told a press conference at Komtar on Thursday.

Dr Afif was speaking to reporters before a discussion was held by officials from the state Health Department and state Economic Planning Unit with members of the Penang State United Chinese Charitable Cemeteries Association on ways to combat dengue during the Qing Ming season.

He said the discussion was conducted every year to inform cemetery operators of the steps taken to combat dengue and to obtain feedback from the association on problems.

“We also give out mosquito abate to cemetery officers and staff for them to put it vases and containers at the graves,” added Dr Afif.

Penang Butterworth United Cemetery committee member Datuk Lye Siew Weng said cemeteries spent about RM100,000 to RM200,000 during the Qing Ming season annually to clear grass at the graves.

Dr Afif had said in a statement earlier that five dengue deaths had been recorded in Penang up till March 14 this year, compared to three deaths during the same period last year.

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