Six states – namely Selangor, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Pahang and Kelantan – have reported increase in the incidences of dengue fever in the third week of January, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH).

According to Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham, the number of cases has increased to a total of 2,053 between 15 and 21 January, from 1,876 reported cases in the previous week.

“The cumulative number of dengue fever cases from January 1 to 21 is 5,592 cases, which is a 46.7% drop (4,890 cases) compared to 10,482 cases for the corresponding period last year,” he also said.

Highest incidences of dengue in Selangor

The Kedah Health Department has identified five areas with active dengue fever occurrences in the state, which are Taman Sungai Kob in Kulim, Pekan Serdang in Bandar Baharu, Taman Ria Jaya Zon I and Taman Bandar Baharu III in Kuala Muda, and Kampung Padang Lalang in Langkawi.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and will carry out works to eliminate Aedes breeding grounds in the affected area,” said state Health Director, Datuk Dr Norhizan Ismail, highlighting that a total of 128 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Kedah between 1 and 28 January this year.

“Taman Sungai Kob has the highest number of cases among the four and we also found many potential breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes,” he added.

Meanwhile, Selangor holds the highest number of recorded cases, with 4,009 incidences reported from 1 January 2017. According to statistics by the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre, the states that followed in high incidences of dengue fever were Kuala Lumpur with 557 cases, Perak with 532 cases, Johor with 521 cases and Kelantan with 380 cases.

13 deaths from dengue nationwide within a month

There were six reported deaths from dengue fever nationwide in the third week of January, said Noor Hisham, which totals the cumulative number of mortalities nationwide to 13 in just three weeks into 2017. However, the number is a 43.5% decline compared with the 23 reported mortalities for the corresponding period in 2016.

“Deaths due to dengue had occurred in areas with dengue epidemic or high breeding rate of Aedes mosquitoes,” Noor Hisham also said, adding that the current weather conditions provide ideal breeding grounds for the mosquitoes, especially if stagnant water accumulates in containers and are left unchecked.

Fortunately, there have been no new reports of Zika virus infection, which is also spread by the Aedes mosquito.

According to Noor Hisham, a total of eight Zika infections were reported from 1 September to 31 December last year. Between 1 and 21 January 2017, the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) and the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) found only negative results from 97 serum and urine samples of patients symptomatic of Zika infection.

Nonetheless, residents have been urged to improve the level of cleanliness in their housing areas in order to destroy Aedes breeding grounds and the State Health Departments have also been called to carry out preventive measures to control the spread of dengue. MIMS

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