Dengue cases could spike to historic levels within the year, warns Health Ministry

PETALING JAYA: The number of dengue cases could spike to historic levels within the next year if everyone doesn’t do their part in combating the disease, says the Health Ministry.

Disease Control deputy director Dr Husnina Ibrahim warned that the recent surge in dengue cases could be the prelude to a potential outbreak in the near future.

“From January to June 4, 2023, we have seen a 158% rise in dengue cases and a distressing 183% increase in the death toll compared with the same period last year.

“This upward trend is expected to continue as Malaysia typically experiences a surge in dengue cases every four to five years.

“An outbreak has been projected to be due around this or next year, with the estimated number of cases potentially surpassing the historic 2019 outbreak,” Dr Husnina said in her speech at the launch of Malaysia’s first independent dengue prevention advocacy group, Dengue Prevention Advocacy Malaysia (DPAM), here Thursday (June 22).

A massive 48,712 dengue cases were reported from January to June 3 this year compared with only 18,883 cases reported within the same period last year.

The period also saw 34 deaths due to dengue fever complications compared with only 12 deaths in 2022, according to Health director-general Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan on June 12.

Dr Husnina, who was representing Health deputy director-general (public health) Datuk Dr Norhayati Rusli, said that public support and dedication would be key in preventing an outbreak.

“While the government's efforts like the Wolbachia Mosquito Operation (WMO) have been promising, individuals and communities must also join forces in the fight against dengue.

“Together we can be the warriors in this battle, by allocating just 10 minutes each week to search and destroy Aedes breeding grounds.

"This can have a significant impact by disrupting its life cycle and crippling its ability to spread disease,” she said.

She added that dengue cases have reduced by 33% to 100% in 16 out of 19 high dengue burden localities where the WMO has been implemented since 2019 with the remaining three localities not reporting any increase in dengue cases.

Since July 2019, 28 high-dengue burden localities in Selangor (10), Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya (7), Penang (4), Kelantan (2), Johor (2), Pahang (2), and Melaka (1) were selected to implement WMO in a staggered manner.

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