KUCHING: Dengue cases continue to rise in Sarawak, particularly in the central region of Sibu district, latest statistics from the state Health Department show.
As of July 9, there have been 1,539 dengue cases reported throughout the state, a 22% increase from the 1,263 cases recorded in the same period last year.
Of the total, 55% were from the Sibu district with 848 cases. The state capital recorded 181 cases, followed by Kapit with 138, Bintulu 56, Miri 34, Kanowit 29, Song 23 and Samarahan 22. Places like Sri Aman Dalat and Selangau had six cases or lower each.
Until July 12, there have been four known deaths due to dengue. Two cases were from Sibu, and one each from nearby Meradong and Song.
The state Health Department is expecting the numbers to rise further in the near future.
Acting department director Dr Jamilah Hashim said this was likely due to the “mass movement of people during the recent Hari Raya celebration and school holidays”.
So far, about 75% of cases this year were from urban areas, but the spread of the disease to rural and sub-rural areas could occur given the recent movement of people.
She also warned that the upcoming Malaysia Games (Sukma), which Sarawak is hosting this year, could cause an increase in the number of dengue cases.
Dr Jamilah said the department was intensifying preventive measures, which included more “aggressive search and destroy operations”.
She said the campaigns would be conducted at weekend markets, bus stations, wharfs and other high risks areas.
Since January, a total of 130,855 premises have been fogged, while 59,094 premises have been inspected. Of the total, 1,712 premises were found to be breeding grounds for mosquitoes, of which 1,655 were aedes albopictus (species which bred outdoors) and 57 were aedes aegypti (species which bred inside the house).
Aedes mosquitoes breed in places such as discarded tyres, plastic and polystyrene containers, cans, uncovered water storage tanks and drums, pails, and indiscriminately thrown rubbish that contained clear water,” said a department press release.
It said one construction site was closed for a week for breeding aedes mosquito and 415 compounds were issued amounting to RM 207,500.
“A compound of RM500 will be issued to anyone whose premises have been found with aedes mosquito. A total of 10 premises have been taken to court and two were fined RM11,000.
“Anyone who shows any signs and symptoms of dengue fever are advised to seek medical treatment immediately from a nearby clinic or hospital,” it added.
The public have been urged to cooperate by allowing inspection and control teams to enter their premises whenever required.
State Vector Borne Disease Unit Head Billy Sujang said Kuching, Miri, Limbang, Bintulu, Sarikei, Sri Aman and Mukah had managed to keep dengue cases under control.