KUALA TERENGGANU: The state recorded its fifth dengue death this year when a 20-year-old victim died on Saturday.
The state health authorities are not happy with the attitude of the people when it comes to keeping their surroundings clean.
Terengganu Health Department director Dr Mohammad Omar said the five deaths this year, including two this month, was an increase of 150% compared to the two deaths last year.
“This is not a good sign,” he said, as the number of dengue cases had dropped from 1,589 last year to 1,316 this year.
According to Dr Mohammad, the attitude of the people in Terengganu was the biggest drawback in the effort to prevent dengue fever.
“People are throwing rubbish as they please and many privately owned lands are not maintained, with most of them becoming breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes.
“It is a challenge for us. We are saddened by the mentality of the people who do not seem to care at all about cleanliness and throw their rubbish without even once thinking of the consequences and how this will affect others,” said Dr Mohammad after receiving 10 mobile dental treatment vans yesterday.
He added that some private property, especially in Kuala Terengganu, had become water-laden and turned into mosquito breeding grounds.
“The land belongs to people who live outside the state. During the monsoon season, these places become breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” he said.
Dr Mohammad said that as at Dec 19, Kuala Terengganu had recorded the highest number of dengue cases with 478, followed by Dungun, Kuala Nerus and Kemaman.
Dungun, Kemaman and Besut also recorded an increase in dengue cases this year.
Dr Mohammad asked the Kuala Terengganu City Council to issue summonses to land owners who refused to clear and maintain the cleanliness of their land.
On the dental treatment vans, he said that with the inclusion of the 10 vans, the department would now be able to provide dental services to all the state’s kindergartens, primary and secondary school students.
He added that Terengganu had managed to reduce the number of dental caries or tooth decay cases among schoolchildren after a fluoridation programme was carried out in 2008.
“Prior to the programme, the state had the highest number of cases of dental caries in the peninsula after Kelantan,” Dr Mohammad said.