BALIK PULAU: The Health Ministry is expecting a drop in the number of dengue cases in the Klang Valley and Selangor but an increase in other states during the Hari Raya holiday.
This is attributed to the balik kampung crowd, said Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya.
“Some people in the Klang Valley and Selangor may have dengue fever. Instead of seeking treatment at hospitals, they go back to their kampung.
“This creates a drop in cases in Selangor and the Klang Valley but an increase in other states,” he told reporters after breaking fast at the district police headquarters here on Wednesday.
Dr Hilmi said dengue cases had been rising at an alarming rate despite the ministry’s efforts to address the issue.
In Penang alone, he said, the number of cases had tripled compared to the same period last year.
A total of 2,854 dengue cases were reported in Penang from Jan 4 to July 6.
“Cleanliness and indiscriminate dumping are the main issues here. However, this can be managed.
“In Kelantan, we mobilised everyone including army personnel to clean up villages,” he said.
On another matter, Dr Hilmi said soft drink manufacturers were slowly adopting suggestions by the ministry to reduce sugar consumption by lowering the size of their products.
“However, replacing sugar altogether with stevia is not yet possible because we still need to import it from China,” he said. Stevia is a sweetener and sugar substitute.
Dr Hilmi said the effort would be possible if Malaysia started encouraging farmers to grow the stevia plant.
“Our weather is perfect for the plant. If we grow it here, we can harvest four times a year compared to only once a year in China,” he said.