KUCHING: Dengue cases continue to rise in Sarawak, particularly in the central region of Sibu district, based on latest statistics from the Health Department.
As of July 9, there have been 1,539 dengue cases reported throughout the state, a 22% increase from the 1,263 cases recorded in the same period last year.
Of the total, 55% were from the Sibu district at 848 cases. The state capital had 181 cases, followed by Kapit with 138, Bintulu 56, Miri 34, Kanowit 29, Song 23 and Samarahan 22. Places like Sri Aman Dalat and Selangau had six cases or lower.
Until July 12, there have been four known deaths due to dengue. Two cases were from Sibu, and one each from nearby Meradong and Song.
Worryingly, the state Health Department is expecting the numbers to rise further in the near future.
Acting department director Dr Jamilah Hashim said this was likely due to the “mass movement of people during the recent Hari Raya celebration and school holidays”.
So far, about 75% of cases this year were from urban areas, but the spread of the disease to rural and sub-rural areas could occur given the recent movement of people.
She also warned the coming Malaysian Games (Sukma), which Sarawak is hosting in Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Samarahan, could also lead to more cases.
Dr Jamilah said the department was intensifying preventive measures, which included more “aggressive search and destroy activities”.
She said more such activities would be conducted at weekend markets, bus stations, wharfs and other high risks areas.
Since January, a total of 130,855 premises have been fogged, while 59,094 premises have been inspected. Of the total, 1,712 premises were found to have breeding places for aedes mosquito, of which 1,655 had aedes albopictus and 57 with aedes aegypti.
“Main breeding places are discarded used tyres, plastic and polystyrene containers, cans, water storage tanks and containers, drums, pails, and discriminately thrown rubbish that contained clear water,” said the department said in a statement last week.
It said one construction site was closed for a week for breeding aedes mosquitoes and 415 compounds were issued amounting to RM 207,500.
“A compound of RM500 will be issued to anyone found with aedes mosquito breeding within their premises. A total of 10 premises that had aedes mosquito were tendered to court and two was fined with the amount of RM11,000,” it added.
The statement also called on all members of the public to cooperate by allowing inspection teams to enter their premises whenever required.
“Those who shows signs and symptoms of dengue fever are advised to seek medical treatment immediately from a nearby clinic or hospital.”
State Vector Borne Disease Unit Head Billy Sujang said Kuching, Miri, Limbang, Bintulu, Sarikei, Sri Aman and Mukah had managed to keep dengue cases under control.