Fighting dengue together


DENGUE fever, the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral disease, saw a sharp rise of 1,432 cases in Selangor in the first week of the year ending Jan 5.

This was almost three times the number of cases in the corresponding period last year, which was 490 cases, said the Selangor Health Department.

On an average, some 205 cases were reported daily from Dec 30, 2018 to Jan 5.

Deputy health director (Public Health) senior consultant Dr B. Venugopalan said this was based on the weekly data collected.

Discarded motorbike tyres are prime breeding areas for mosquitoes.
Discarded motorbike tyres are prime breeding areas for mosquitoes.

“This spike of 942 confirmed dengue cases is more than the number of cases in the same corresponding week last year,” he said.

In the second week from Jan 6 to 12, there were 382 new cases reported.

This brings the figure up to a total of 1,814 cases since the start of the year, Selangor Health Department said.

(Left) A polystyrene container teeming with Aedes mosquito larvae after rain water had collected in this box in Jalan Khidmat 25/35, Section 25, Shah Alam. (Right) Fogging for dengue breeding sites was done at various neighbourhoods in Klang district.
A polystyrene container teeming with Aedes mosquito larvae after rain water had collected in this box in Jalan Khidmat 25/35, Section 25, Shah Alam. 

Health inspectors and field workers from vector control units at the Health Ministry’s District Health Department and local councils described the sudden surge in cases as “worrisome”.

Dr Venugopalan added that the state was keeping a close tab on clinically suspected dengue cases.

“Once we hear of a case, it is monitored and if cases multiply in a specific area, we will initiate fogging.

“Fogging is not the answer but it is an immediate means to destroying adult mosquitoes.

This ash tray on a rubbish bin at a children’s playground within the compound of Damai Apartments is an ideal breeding site for mosquitoes.
This ash tray on a rubbish bin at a children’s playground within the compound of Damai Apartments is an ideal breeding site for mosquitoes.

“In three districts – Petaling, Klang and Hulu Langat – we have intensified vector control measures such as premises inspections for mosquito breeding sites,” he said.

In the first week, Petaling hit 495 cases while Klang recorded 413 cases and Hulu Langat, 280 cases.

On Saturday, five local councils – Hulu Selangor District Council, Ampang Jaya Municipal Council, Shah Alam City Council (MBSA), Kajang Municipal Council and Selayang Municipal Council – came together to help Klang district, under the Joint Operations to Fight Dengue at District Level, where intensive checks were carried out at Damai Apartments in Section 25, Jalan Tokoh 25/28, Shah Alam, from 8am to 1pm.

Rubbish containers were cleaned to ensure mosquitoes were not breeding in them.
Rubbish containers were cleaned to ensure mosquitoes were not breeding in them.

Another two local councils, Subang Jaya Municipal Council and Petaling Jaya City Council, carried out fogging at five Damai Apartments high-rise blocks and its surrounding areas in Klang district from 4pm to 8pm.

Damai Apartments and its surrounding area, tagged as a dengue hotspot, is under the jurisdiction of Klang Municipal Council (MPK).

Close to 80 personnel from the seven councils were involved in the operations. Field workers sprayed a thin film of oil mixed with chemical in drains and small illegal dumpsites to kill off the mosquito larvae.

Ahmad checking a toothbrush container for Aedes mosquito larvae at a unit in Damai Apartment.
Ahmad checking a toothbrush container for Aedes mosquito larvae at a unit in Damai Apartment.

Klang District Health Department environmental health assistant officer Kaharudin Abu Bakar, MPK environmental health officer Zakaria Ismail and MBSA environmental health officer Ahmad Nordin coordinated the five-hour check at various apartment units, terrace houses and even public areas for potential breeding grounds.

Kaharudin said the focus was on riskier areas where stagnant water had collected on window ledges below air-conditioner units, open rooftop water tanks, discarded motorbike tyres, old buckets and plastic bags at a plot of land bordering Jalan Khidmat 25/35.

Ahmad said 36 dengue cases were recorded during the joint operations.

A field worker spraying a thin film of oil and chemical into the drains filled with stagnant water within the compound of Damai Apartments. — Photos: FAIHAN GHANI/The Star
A field worker spraying a thin film of oil and chemical into the drains filled with stagnant water within the compound of Damai Apartments. — Photos: FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

Earlier, he had urged MPK to clean up the area behind the council’s surau that was littered with dry leaves, empty soft drink bottles and cans.

Zakaria said in 2018, Klang district recorded 11,823 dengue cases with five deaths.

“Due to the high number of dengue cases, adults must protect themselves and their children from mosquito bites. “It is advisable to use mosquito repellent and wear clothing that covers most of the body when outdoors,” he said.

He urged the public to help curb the breeding of mosquito by removing accumulation of stagnant water within the compound or outside the house.


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