'Dengue risk high for kids and elderly'

PHOTO: 'Dengue risk high for kids and elderly'

KUALA LUMPUR - The elderly and the very young tend to face higher risks of mortality from dengue as they generally have a lower level of tolerance of infections, said Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) director Prof Datuk Dr Ikram Ismail.

"When the elderly and the young children suffer from fluid (plasma) leakage and dehydration, their bodies do not compensate well. They take a longer time to recover.

"Their risk of death is higher but we try to give them the support they need to recover," he said, noting that the number of dengue patients admitted to the hospital had risen by four times compared to a week ago.

UMMC had 10 to 15 dengue patients in its hospital at any one time but it has since increased to between 54 and 60 patients just over a week ago.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus Research and Reference at Universiti Malaya director Prof Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar said the Aedes mosquito was more active during the warmer months, and people should protect themselves by putting mesh screens over doors and windows and use mosquito repellents.

Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) director Datuk Dr Zaininah Mohd Zain said they had 120 patients warded for suspected dengue yesterday and 60 were confirmed.

She said the number of dengue notifications (suspected dengue cases) since June 7 had increased from 336 to 494 on June 14 and to 627 as of June 26.

"Yes, there has been a surge compared to previous weeks," said Dr Zaininah, adding that those admitted were mainly the young and mobile group.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry reported four dengue-related deaths last week - a five-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man from Selangor, and a 41-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman from Johor.

As of June 21, 82 deaths were reported nationwide this year, compared with 25 deaths in the same period last year.