KAJANG: Dengue cases have increased by more than fourfold so far this year, as compared with the same period last year.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said as of Feb 28, 18,047 dengue cases and 36 deaths were reported throughout the country compared with 4,250 cases and eight deaths for the first two months of 2013.
“This concerns us a great deal. We are increasing the awareness and steps to eradicate dengue,” he said here yesterday after launching the Jom Hapus programme aimed at wiping out Aedes breeding grounds.
MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, who is the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Kajang by-election, was among those present to lend support.
Dr Subramaniam said the number of cases was higher because of the change in the variation of the dengue virus.
“The current serotype, DEN-2, discovered last year, is more virulent,” he said.
Selangor recorded the highest number of deaths (13), followed by Johor (seven) and Perak, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya that had three deaths each.
Selangor also had the highest number of cases from January until Feb 28 at 9,946 compared with only 1,877 for the same period last year.
This is followed by Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya with 1,697 cases compared to 250, Perak with 1,247 compared with 347 and Johor with 1,148 against 374. Penang recorded 404 cases, as compared with 140 previously.
He said all states recorded a jump in cases.
Dr Subramaniam, who joined in the gotong-royong to help clean the drains and the Taman Seri Jenaris neighbourhood, said civic consciousness among the public needed to be increased.
“We must know what to do and what not to do. Some think that their neighbourhoods are rubbish dumps. They throw rubbish everywhere especially into drains, causing problems.
“The Government can help to clean them but we need the public’s cooperation as well,” he said, adding that stagnant water was the breeding ground for mosquitoes.
He said proper infrastructure, clog-free drains and scheduled solid waste management could help eliminate breeding places.
“It is important for rubbish especially large items to be picked up according to schedule so that residents can plan properly. It also prevents rubbish from being left out in the open for too long.
“All need to play their part, including local councils, the community and those working in construction sites,” he said.
Dr Subramaniam also urged those storing water to cover containers to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.
For those using mosquito sprays or repellents, he said the ideal time to do so was between 6am and 8am and between 5pm and 8pm.