KOTA KINABALU: People in Sabah are failing to take adequate steps to prevent the spread of diseases.
Sabah Health Department director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi said such attitudes had caused dengue and the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) to spread.
She said 1,791 dengue fever cases had been reported as of July 21 this year, compared to 1,125 during the same period last year, an almost 60% increase.
“Kota Kinabalu recorded the most cases (491) followed by Tawau with 357 and Kunak with 202 cases,” she said after launching a state-level Asean Dengue Day event in Penampang.
She said 11 districts in Sabah – Kunak, Tawau, Kota Kinabalu, Kinabatangan, Papar, Lahad Datu, Semporna, Ranau, Kota Belud, Sipitang and Tenom – had seen an increase this year.
“We have been carrying out numerous awareness and gotong royong programmes but it seems like the message is not getting through.
“People are still living in dirty conditions and leave aedes mosquito breeding grounds unattended.
“They will only react when someone in their family is affected,” she said.
Dr Rundi added the department had issued a total of 482 notices and 232 compounds with fines amounting to RM116,000 as of July this year.
The number of HFMD cases was continuing to rise as adults seem to be taking the matter lightly, ignoring calls to quarantine their infected children, among other preventive measures.
“Cases are still continuously being reported, we have so far received 1,866 reports of HFMD in Sabah,” she said, adding that 15 schools and preschools were still closed due to HFMD.
She said parents and teachers are not giving their full cooperation in helping to contain the spread of the virus.
“Those whose children have HFMD can still be seen in public.
“This is not right, you are not helping to stop the spread of the disease,” she said.
Dr Rundi added littering was not helping the situation as it contributed to the spread of germs, viruses and bacteria.