Johor steps up dengue fight after alarming spike in cases

PHOTO: The Straits Times

JOHOR BARU - The second week of June proved particularly alarming in Johor when an all-time high of 582 dengue cases were recorded within a week.

State Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said even though there were only 11 dengue-related deaths from Jan 1 to July 4, versus 14 for the same period last year, what took place in Week 26 of this year should make everyone sit up and take note.

The June spike came amid a backdrop of increasing dengue cases in Johor, with 4,859 cases from Jan 1 until July 4, compared to 2,525 cases recorded in the same period last year.

According to Ayub, Week 26 was unusual as the state usually records anything between 150 and 400 cases a week.

"We are monitoring the situation closely, and I've directed all 16 local councils to step up efforts in cleaning their surroundings and to also engage local communities in gotong-royong to prevent dengue," he said.

Ayub said the Johor Baru district recorded the highest number of dengue cases, with 73 per cent of the cases this year coming mainly from areas under the jurisdiction of the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) and the Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT).

Apart from the lackadaisical attitude of urban dwellers in keeping their surroundings clean, unkept construction sites here were also identified as mosquito-breeding spots.

"We will conduct fogging in MBJB and MPJBT areas this Thursday until July 16, and we hope residents will co-operate with us instead of chasing our men away with wea­pons," he quipped.

Johor Baru Mayor Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohamed Dewam said industrial estates and hostels for foreign workers were also ­mosquito-breeding spots.