Festive season could worsen dengue outbreak, says Malaysia Health Ministry

Festive season could worsen dengue outbreak, says Malaysia Health Ministry
PHOTO: The Straits Times

PUTRAJAYA - The spike in dengue cases in the country may worsen during the coming Hari Raya celebrations if cleanliness is ignored, says the Health Ministry.

With garbage expected to be piling up in housing areas and villages when people cook and hold festive open houses, the Aedes mosquitoes will have more places to breed.

While the authorities have never stopped reminding the public to keep their houses and surroundings clean, Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the matter needed to be strongly emphasised during the festive period.

"We are facing a serious situation as the dengue case figures are not showing any sign of going down.

"The ministry foresees the increase in cases will continue until the end of the fasting month and during the Hari Raya celebrations," he said before chairing the ministry's post-Cabinet meeting here yesterday.

Dr Subramaniam said the expected big increase was due to the dengue serotype shift from DEN-2 to DEN-1, which occurred in April. He added it was also based on the cyclical pattern last year.

Total accumulative cases reported from January to June 27 were 56,533 compared to 42,229 during the same period last year, which is an increase of 33.9 per cent or 14,304 cases.

There were 162 deaths compared to 82 during the same period last year.

Dr Subramaniam said those going back to their hometowns during the celebrations should ensure that there would be no place for Aedes mosquitoes to breed in their houses.

"Please clear away any garbage, ensure drains are not clogged and put Abate larvaecide in water tanks, toilet bowls and pumps. Administrators of schools and higher learning institutions should also do the same," he said.

In Johor at least one person dies due to dengue each month, said state Health and Environment exco member Datuk Ayub Rahmat. He added that the number of cases for the first six months of this year has spiked by 79 per cent with 10 deaths reported.

"Most of the cases reported came from residential areas," he said at a breaking fast session with the media here on Monday.

Ayub added that 70 per cent of the cases were in Johor Baru, which is the highest, followed by Kulaijaya and Batu Pahat.

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