Despite an overall drop in dengue cases nationwide compared to that in 2016, the Ministry of Health has encouraged the public to actively prevent a possible rise in cases by August this year. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam urged local and state governments as well as the public to eliminate mosquito breeding sites in their area to curb this issue.

“We are predicting that the number of dengue cases will rise by August based on several factors including the weather and serotype shift which can trigger dengue outbreak. However, we may have a good chance in preventing the sudden surge of dengue cases if all quarters start taking the preventive measures from now on,” he said.

Dr. Subramaniam also noted that there has been a drop in cases from between 3,300 to 3,400 cases weekly in 2016 to between 1,700 to 1,800 cases weekly this year. However, action needs to be taken to avoid an increase in these figures once more.

Kedah records a surge in dengue cases

On the contrary to a nationwide drop, Kedah has recorded a 67% increase in dengue cases with 513 cases reported in the last five months. State Health Department director Datuk Dr Norhizan Ismail noted this is a significant increase of 307 cases as opposed to the 206 cases reported during the same timeframe in 2016.

He added that eight out of 11 districts in Kedah were found to be dengue outbreak areas and one of the districts was an active chikungunya outbreak area. “Up to May 6, there were 513 dengue cases and 128 chikungunya cases recorded here this year,” he continued.

“Eight districts which recorded a hike in dengue cases are Kulim with 131 cases, Kuala Muda (189 cases), Kubang Pasu (37 cases), Langkawi (20 cases), Sik (19 cases), Padang Terap (10 cases), Bandar Baharu (10 cases), and Baling (60 cases),” Norhizan said.

Heavy penalties to counter Aedes breeding

Norhizan also added that the State Health Department has employed measures to control and prevent dengue cases by subjecting 165,571 areas to Aedes breeding examinations. From these, 3,722 vicinities were noted to have larvae breeding.

1,811 compounds totaling RM 905,500 have been issued under the Destruction of Disease Bearing Insects Act 1975. A total of 361 notices under Section 8 were also handed out for cleaning directives.

He also advised members of the public with flu-like illnesses such as fever, muscle or joint pains, headaches and rashes to immediately see a doctor to rule out dengue and chikungunya. MIMS

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