On alert following chikungunya outbreak


Dr Param Jeeth says the hotspots for chikungunya are areas with clogged drains and water ponding, and abandoned houses which are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

A RESIDENTIAL area in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur has been identified as the site of a chikungunya outbreak in the city, with 56 confirmed cases so far.

Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya Health Department said the outbreak in Taman Dato Senu was first detected on Feb 16.

Its director Datuk Dr Param Jeeth Singh told StarMetro that even though the situation was under control, residents in the neighbourhood should take extra precautions to stop the spread of the virus.

Dr Param Jeeth said after the first few cases were detected, immediate steps were taken to control and monitor the situation.

He said health officers from the department and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) inspected a total of 1,381 houses for potential mosquito breeding grounds, and 852 households underwent fogging.

Some 2,416 residents were screened while active detection is ongoing following the initial outbreak.

Between Feb 16 and March 5, a total of 56 cases were reported in Taman Dato Senu and its surrounding areas.

Two individuals were hospitalised and the rest received outpatient treatment. Apart from that, two other cases were reported in Lembah Pantai and Titiwangsa.

When asked about the reasons for the outbreak in Taman Dato Senu, Dr Param Jeeth cited clogged drains and abandoned houses.

“Like dengue, for chikungunya, the hotspots are areas with clogged drains and water ponding as well as abandoned houses which are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, ” he said.

Just like dengue, chikungunya is spread by the Aedes mosquito.

“Dengue is endemic in Malaysia with a high number of cases mostly in urban areas whereas chikungunya typically occurs in rural areas.

“However due to the high mobility of people (including those infected with the disease), chikungunya can be transmitted in urban areas.

“We notified DBKL and immediate measures were taken to stop the spread, ” he added.

When contacted, DBKL Health and Environment Department director Dr Umi Ahmad said apart from fogging, the city council had also put up posters and banners to create awareness of the disease.

“The Batu area is the most affected and our investigation points to factors like clogged drains resulting in stagnant water.

“Unsanctioned renovations by residents have resulted in drains being covered up and rubbish accumulating, causing water to stagnate.

Alam Flora cleaners have reported to us that they were not able to clean the drains as they were blocked, ” she said.

Dr Umi also attributed the outbreak to abandoned houses with overgrown shrubs and uncollected rubbish inside.

“We are trying everything we can to control the situation here, but the public must play their part in making sure that all breeding points are eradicated, ” Dr Umi said, adding that DBKL would liaise with residents associations to get the community to carry out a gotong-royong session.

Meanwhile, those experiencing symptoms like fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash are advised to visit the nearest medical facility as soon as possible.

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