KUALA LUMPUR - The number of dengue cases at Hospital Kuala Lumpur, the oldest and most-visited hospital in the country, has not only risen but become more severe.
Its internal medicine physician Dr Saiful Safuan Md Sani said there had been an increase of about 20 per cent of dengue patients at the hospital.
Seven dengue patients with encephalitis had also been admitted in the past month, with four of them dying compared to an average of only one or two such cases a year.
"We do not know yet why patients are suffering a more severe dengue infection. They should seek treatment immediately if they suffer from vomiting, persistent abdominal pains, lethargy like being unable to get out of bed, and any bleeding," he advised.
He said that since late 2013, HKL had between 80 and 100 dengue patients at any one time but in the past month, the number had shot up to 150 patients on some days, with an average increase of about 20 per cent.
Since Monday, HKL has opened up two bigger wards for dengue patients, while the current wards were being used as spill-over cases from the bigger wards, he said.
"We are also adding a few canvas and trolley beds as back-up and should the need arise, we will put patients in general wards," he added.
Dr Saiful said people must ensure that potential mosquito breeding places in their surroundings were cleaned up.
Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran said the ministry had increased 55 per cent of the capacity for beds in the past week for dengue patients, from 408 to 639.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said one factor for the spike in cases and deaths was the shift in the dominant dengue serotype, which occurred last August, from DEN-2 to DEN-1.
From Jan 1 to 24, the Health Ministry reported 8,502 dengue cases nationwide, an increase of 65 per cent or 3,361 cases compared with the same period last year (5,141 cases).