FEAR - that is the word to describe the feelings of those living in dengue hotspots.
The onset of the hot weather is also expected to bring about another wave of dengue cases.
Already, housewife Choo Sow Fong from Taman Desa Pakatan in Ipoh, finds that there has been a surge in the number of mosquitoes.
“There has been a lot more mosquitoes ever since Chinese New Year and it has made me so worried.
“I make sure I keep my compound clean and check for stagnant water around the house.
“To be safe, I don’t even have any potted plants,” she said.
Choo, 57, said unfortunately, the public has lost their civic consciousness.
“People have become very selfish these days. For example, people simply throw rubbish everywhere.
“All it takes is for one person to discard a bag of rubbish at a particular spot and the place becomes an illegal dumpsite,” she said, adding that it is not entirely fair to blame the problem on local councils.
Taman Desa Pakatan, together with Bercham and Medan Klebang Restu, were listed as the top three dengue hotspots in Ipoh last year.
A mini market owner, who only wished to be known as Thong, said last year was the first time he had heard of dengue cases occurring in Taman Desa Pakatan, where he has lived for over two decades.
“It never used to be like this here,” said Thong.
“I do agree that residents need to help themselves by keeping their compounds free of stagnant water but the local council must also step up their efforts and do a better job.
“I feel that not enough is being done by its workers to clean drains in the area.
“And when the drains get clogged up with rubbish and dried leaves, water stagnates and Aedes mosquitoes start laying eggs,” he said.
Over in Taman Pinggir Rapat Perdana, pensioner Hew Hoon Yean, 68, said numerous complaints about a clogged drain in front of the row of shops along Hala Sepakat 15A had fallen on deaf ears.
“Nothing has been done by the council to clean the drain, as well as to repair the parts that have collapsed.
“There were times when we have resorted to burning the leaves even though we know full well it is illegal to do so, because what other choice do we have?
“With a council that is irresponsible and council workers who don’t do a good job, it is no wonder people are dying of dengue in our area,” said Hew, who is worried for his family’s well-being, especially that of his grandchildren and one-year-old great-grandchild.
Taman Panorama Rapat Indah resident Sabariah Md Sapar, 50, agreed that the council was doing a shoddy job.
“It seems that all the council ever does is collect rubbish.
“Other than that, its workers only come to cut the grass once a year while we have to wait for the drains to be cleared by rainwater,” she said.
However, she said District Health Department has been consistent in their efforts to educate residents on dengue prevention.
“The department had set up a booth a few months ago to hand out brochures as well as distribute abate to residents.
“However, I do wish the local council and health department would conduct fogging more regularly as a preventive measure rather than doing so only when there are dengue cases.
“The number of mosquitoes around here is scary. I have to shut my doors and windows as soon as it starts to get dark.
“I have switched to using mosquito coils because it has become too expensive to buy mosquito repellent spray,” said Sabariah, adding that she used to finish up an entire can of repellent in less than one week.
Taman Pinggir Rapat Perdana and Taman Panorama Indah are within the Gunung Rapat area where two deaths had been reported in February.
It was recently reported that dengue cases in Perak have risen to a new high of 2,305 cases and five deaths in the first seven weeks of the year.
This is in comparison to the 966 cases and three deaths reported during the corresponding period last year.
State health director Datuk Dr Nordiyanah Hassan said that the Kinta district remained the worst hit in the state, as the district alone contributed 1,817 cases and two deaths.