Dengue situation in Penang alarming

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 02 Oct 2005

KEPALA BATAS: “Still alarming” best describes the dengue situation in Penang, with the number of cases reported this week having more than doubled.  

Health Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon said the cases this week had increased to 257, compared with last week's 121 cases. 

“The dengue situation is getting very alarming, especially in the south-west district. 

“We have moved health personnel from hospitals with lesser cases to those with higher cases in Penang, Selangor, Johor and Perak,” he told reporters after opening the national-level World Mental Health Day celebrations at Dewan Millennium here yesterday.  

Dengue fatalities in Penang remain at five. A patient is in critical condition at Penang Hospital.  

Lee said many of the deaths could have been prevented if the victims had sought early treatment at the hospital. 

On the Penang government's alleged lack of transparency on the dengue situation, Lee said the ministry had no intention of “concealing necessary information.” 

“Information and figures are available to all. We hope the media and others will cooperate by using the information in a positive way. If you use it in a negative manner, it might create panic,” he added.  

Asked why Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon had not provided updates on the dengue situation when state health executive council members in other states had done so, Lee said there could have been a misunderstanding. 

“Our main aim was to centralise the figures so that it would not be conflicting,” he said. 

Later, in a dialogue with state assemblymen of the south-west district held at the Bayan Baru health clinic, Lee said Penang should set a two-week deadline to reduce dengue cases.  

He said 10 dengue hotspots – Kampung Nelayan, Kampung Masjid, surroundings of Pantai Jerejak, Tingkat Nibong, Teluk Kumbar beach area, squatters area in Sungai Nibong Besar, Halaman Murni apartment area, Kampung Paya, Persiaran Mayang Pasir and Kampung Binjai – were identified in the district.  

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