PUTRAJAYA - Three people, including two babies, died of dengue-related complications over the past week as Malaysia saw a rise in deaths related to the pandemic during the first six months of this year.
Figures released by the Health Ministry yesterday showed that 22 people had died as of June 10, an increase of one over the same six-month period a year earlier.
"The three deaths reported last week include two children, both aged one, from Penang and Malacca. The third fatality was a housewife from Selangor. In all cases, death was due to dengue-related complications or Dengue Shock Syndrome," health deputy director-general (public health) Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said in a statement.
He said the increase in deaths correlated with the rise in the overall number of dengue cases over the first half of the year, with 10,910 cases reported nationwide.
This was an increase of 204 cases or 2 per cent compared to the same period last year, when 10,706 cases of dengue were reported.
"The increasing trend was most obvious in Johor starting in mid-April, as with other states that showed an increasing trend such as the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, and Selangor since last month," he said.
Bringing the focus back to the three most recent deaths, Dr Lokman said the source of infection was their home surroundings, which had an Aedes mosquito breeding rate of between 3 per cent and 4.5 per cent - considered by the ministry to be high for dengue carriers.
He said the ministry was monitoring the situation, especially with the approaching dengue season, which typically lasts from July to September.
Dr Lokman urged the public to do their part and minimise the number of breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes.
"(The recent cases) clearly show that dengue strikes regardless of age. That is why prevention by making sure no discarded containers become breeding grounds can save many lives," he said.