Dengue prevention: Are we doing it wrong?

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 18 Sep 2019

PETALING JAYA: The spike in dengue cases over the past few years indicate flaws in the way we combat the issue, experts say.

University Malaya virology and bacteriology expert Professor Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar believes that eradicating mosquitoes will not solve the problem.

“All these years, we’ve been talking about eradicating mosquitoes, but we haven’t tackled the real problem, ” said the university’s Tropical Infectious Diseases Research and Education Center director.

Sazaly said dengue-infected people would register a high load of the virus in their blood, which would infect mosquitoes and then spread to other humans through bites.

“We are too hung-up on mosquitoes. Mosquitoes don’t cause dengue - it is us infecting the mosquitoes.

“Once we stop infecting mosquitoes, they will be free of the (dengue) virus.”

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Biological Sciences senior lecturer Dr Nur Faeza Abu Kassim said we cannot depend solely on one method to control mosquito vectors, or disease-carrying mosquitoes.

She called on the government to put an “Integrated Vector Management” system in place, that would include long- and short-term disease-combating plans as well as an improvement in the public’s knowledge about mosquito-borne diseases.

“Artificial Intelligence methods (proposed earlier this year by the government in an attempt to crack down on dengue cases) and Wolbachia mosquitoes need time to take effect, ” she said. “So, even though I don’t prefer the fogging method, we still need to incorporate it into the system because it produces faster results.”

Watch Newsflash: Why can’t we control dengue?

Newsflash is a weekly explainer series by R.AGE that breaks down and discusses current topics. Watch all the episodes here.

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