Apathy blamed for rise in dengue

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 12 Mar 2003

ELEVEN deaths were recorded from 3,410 confirmed cases of dengue fever until Feb 23, said Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng. 

He said the cases increased since the middle of last year due to a lack of public co-operation in getting rid of aedes mosquito breeding grounds at their homes and workplaces. 

He said there were 57 deaths from 11,394 cases last year. 

“The increase in cases of dengue fever is due to the attitude of the people and agencies in not ensuring the cleanliness of surroundings, including leaving drains to clog and not throwing rubbish properly,” he said when replying to Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique (BN – Wangsa Maju). 

Chua refuted the DAP’s claim that the ministry had received a dengue alert warning issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

“The claim is not true at all. We have already received a written admission from a WHO representative in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 24 saying that it had never issued such a warning.” 

According to DAP’s statistics, there were 32,289 cases of dengue fever with 57 deaths until Dec 28 last year. 

Speaking to reporters at the lobby later, Chua said he did not know where DAP had obtained the statistics but it could be the number of suspected cases instead of confirmed ones. 

“The number of suspected cases will definitely be higher than confirmed cases,” he said. 

Asked of the opposition party's query as to why he did not declare an epidemic before the 13th Non-Aligned Movement Summit last month, Chua said the dengue cases were endemic as they occurred throughout the year all over the world. 

He said that according to WHO, it was estimated that there were between 50 million and 100 million cases of dengue, 50,000 cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever and 12,000 deaths every year. 

“The incidents of dengue haemorrhagic fever in Malaysia are only 0.1% of the total cases in the world while the cases of dengue fever are between 0.01% and 0.02% of the world’s total dengue fever cases,” he added. 

He said the opposition party had a political agenda for raising the matter before the NAM Summit. 

“We have the interest of the nation before us, we cannot declare the disease as an epidemic when it is endemic. 

“What we did was to do our work on the ground quietly to curb the spread of the disease,” he added.  

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