Spike in cases but govt will press on to hit zero dengue target, says Zahid

KUALA LUMPUR: Dengue cases in the country saw a massive 223% spike this year up to March compared to the same period last year.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that as of March 25, a total of 26,222 cases were recorded by authorities compared to 8,124 cases in the same period last year.

He also noted that the number of deaths from dengue complications had risen by over 300% to 17 this year from four last year.

This was revealed after he chaired the Cabinet committee meeting to address dengue in the Parliament building here on Tuesday (March 28).

The highest number of cases was recorded in Selangor with 13,510, followed by Sabah (2,685), Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya (2,430), Penang (2,113) and Johor (1,758).

Ahmad Zahid said the government had taken various approaches to the problem including the participation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and volunteer doctors to go to the ground, especially in hotspot areas, on a fixed schedule.

He said that the government allocated about RM240mil a year to address issues faced by dengue patients.

"So we are looking at new approaches as we aim to achieve a zero dengue target.

"This includes using BioGel bait, which is hydrogel beads that can attract and kill mosquitoes," he said.

Other methods include the use of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes to biologically control the spread of dengue.

"We will continue to take proactive measures and outside-the-box methods to reduce cases and achieve our target," he said.

The meeting also took note of constraints faced by the Health Ministry and local authorities, he said, while giving an assurance that the government will utilise all existing resources including assets under the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) for logistics in anti-dengue operation areas.

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