Dengue rears ugly head

DENGUE has been hitting Penang really hard. There have been nine dengue deaths in the state so far this year compared with just two during the same period last year.

The number of cases has also increased. There were 1,014 confirmed cases as of Feb 13 this year which is an increase of 11.7% or 106 cases compared with 908 cases during the same period last year.

State Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said the situation did not show any indication of improving despite the state’s continuous effort in combating the menace.

Describing the situation as bad, he called on the public to play a more active role in fighting the scourge.

He stressed that there must be an attitude change in the community towards curbing dengue.

“The problem can be nipped in the bud if Aedes mosquitoes do not have the chance to breed,” he said yesterday.

Besides efforts by the local authorities, Dr Afif said the public should spend at least 10 minutes weekly to clean up their premises, workplaces and surroundings to ensure that there were no mosquito breeding grounds.

He also urged the public to continue giving their cooperation to health and local council workers when they carry out inspections and fogging.

Dr Afif suggested that the Federal Government set up a task force to take proactive measures in combating dengue, giving the example in Brazil where soldiers were deployed to give out larvacide and insect repellent from house to house.

The Penang Health Department said in a statement yesterday that the state hadcurrently five dengue hotspots — Taman Sri Pinang in the northeast district; Taman Impian, Flat Taman Sri Janggus and Taman Sri Janggus terraced houses in central Seberang Prai and Perkampungan Valdor in south Seberang Prai.

There were also three uncontrolled outbreak localities — Mutiara Idaman in the northeast district as well as Apartment Sembilang and Taman Impian Ria in central Seberang Prai.

The department’s southwest district senior health inspector Yap Hock Lye said those found with Aedes larvae in their premises could be fined up to RM500.

He said it was important to ensure that the Aedes mosquitoes do not get the chance to breed at all as their eggs could survive without water for six months.

He also said the adult Aedes could lay eggs five times during its one-month life span, producing 100 to 200 eggs on each occasion.

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