Expert: Dengue a killer but message not getting through

PETALING JAYA: The fact that one can suffer from organ failure or even die from dengue fever should be made the focus of movies, theatre and social media to improve public awareness, says a researcher.

The World Health Organisation’s Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus Reference and Research director Prof Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar said most of those who know about the dangers of dengue are medical staff and people who are health conscious.

“But, many people do not know the severity of dengue fever and that they can die from it.

“This message is not getting across to people in the country,” he said.

Dr Sazaly said he agreed with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam’s statement that while most Malaysians had good knowledge about Aedes mosquitoes, it did not translate into action, such as destroying breeding grounds of the mosquitoes.

The message on the dangers of dengue infection, he added, should not only be reported in the press but disseminated in social media, including WhatsApp chat groups.

“It must be made a talking point,” he said.

The fact that the public were still throwing rubbish indiscriminately in parks and public areas showed that they were still not aware of the seriousness of their actions, he said.

The Health Ministry, said Dr Sazaly, could not fight the battle alone, adding that this required the involvement of the entire society in ending the scourge.

Architects and developers, he added, should also stop making buildings with flat-top roofs and open drains as this created potential spots for mosquito breeding.

In fact, a dengue-free policy must be made a part of every development project, he said.


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