Malaysia: 50% rise in dengue deaths

The Star 6 Jan 16;

PETALING JAYA: The number of dengue cases last year paints a scary picture. There was a more than 50% jump in the number of deaths caused by dengue compared to 2014.

This, according to the Health Ministry, was the highest number of dengue deaths ever recorded in the country.

According to the ministry, 336 people – an average of 28 a month – died from dengue last year compared to 215 in 2014, a rise of 56.3%.

There was also an increase of 11.2% in the number of dengue cases throughout last year, up from 108,698 in 2014 to 120,836 cases.

That’s 333 cases a month or 110 cases each day!

The ministry is now cautioning people to brace for an equally bad, if not worse, year ahead.

The ministry’s Vector Borne Disease Sector (Disease Control Division) head Dr Rose Nani Mudin said the upward trend of dengue cases recorded in the country, corresponded with the rest of the world.

“World Health Organisation’s (WHO) data also showed the number of cases increasing each year globally.

“The upward trend is also observed in other countries (with dengue), number of cases have been continuously increasing.

“It’s a global phenomenon,” said Dr Rose, who is also an epidemiologist.

The ministry’s data also showed there were 145 dengue hotspots in the country, with Selangor having the highest number of hotspots at 107.

Other hotspots are in Johor (23), Perak (9), and Penang (3), while Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negri Sembilan and Sabah have one each.

Dr Rose said climate change could be one of the factors contributing to the spike in dengue cases.

“Alternate rainy and hot seasons cause the Aedes breeding to increase,” she said, adding that water collected in stagnant containers during the rainy season could worsen the situation.

She said another factor was serotype changes in the dengue virus.

“Four to five months after a serotype shift, when one dengue serotype becomes prevalent, cases would increase due to lack of immunity against the new serotype.”

Poor community behaviour also contributed to the prevalence of the Aedes mosquitoes.

“Poor environmental cleanliness due to littering and inappropriate solid waste disposal are the main issues in the country and this resulted in the high Aedes breeding index,” she said.

Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Ashok Zacha­riah Phillip said many Malaysians only dengue-proofed their houses but not their neighbourhood.

“Most Malaysians are quite aware of the dangers of dengue but they don’t proactively go around and try and prevent it.

“They just take care of the areas around their house and that’s about it,” said Dr Ashok.

However, he said, the main breeding areas for Aedes mosquitoes were construction sites and places with a lot of debris and litter.

“That is where the breeding grounds are. Many of the hotspots are close to construction areas,” he said, adding that the community could take part in preventing Aedes breeding by cleaning their neighbourhood together and the council could send teams to construction sites to check on its cleanliness.

Selangor draws up plan to snuff out hotspots
The Star 6 Jan 16;

KLANG: With 98 hotspots, Selangor is really the hotbed of dengue in the country and the state has drawn up an action plan to combat the menace.

State Health, Welfare, Women and Family Affairs executive councillor Dr Daroyah Alwi said the action plan was outlined during a workshop on dengue recently and would be launched soon.

“We will inform the media about the plan in detail during the launching ceremony,” she said yesterday.

Dr Daroyah said there had been 3,825 dengue cases reported in October last year, with 4,024 cases in November and 5,746 cases in December.

“Our dengue trend analysis since 2010 showed that there has been an increase in cases during every year-end, especially in December. This trend happens at the national level too,” she said.

However, the total number of cases reported between October and December last year was fewer compared to the same period the year before, signifying a success in the state’s efforts.

“We are hopeful we can keep the number lower this year,” she said.

Of the 98 dengue hotspots in Selangor, 45 were in Petaling Jaya, 25 in Gombak, Hulu Langat (20), Hulu Selangor (3), Kuala Selangor (2), Klang (2) and Kuala Langat (1) .

State Local Government, New Village Development and Legalising of Factories executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah said Selangor would continue with its efforts to fight the dengue menace, including conducting random spot checks around premises at the hotspots.

All local councillors will continue organising gotong-royong in their respective areas to get rid of Aedes mosquito breeding grounds, he said. Random and frequent spot checks would also continue along with fogging.

Selangor Health Department director Datuk Dr S. Balachandran also said the department would focus on weeding out breeding grounds, with more campaigns and road shows to educate members of the public.

“It is very important to get every single person at every level of the community and society to come onboard and fight dengue,” he said.

Johor folk urged to help keep rising dengue deaths down
NELSON BENJAMIN The Star 7 Jan 15;

JOHOR BARU: The number of dengue related deaths in the state has doubled last year.

The situation is expected to worsen if the people do not play their part in keeping their surroundings clean.

The number of deaths in 2015 doubled to 51 compared with 25 in 2014, said Johor health and environment committee chairman Datuk Ayob Rahmat.

“Last year we had 15,743 cases compared with 6,310 cases in 2014. This is worrying,” he said.

Johor Baru continued to remain at the top with 75% of all the dengue cases followed by Batu Pahat (5.5%), Kulai (4.1%), Segamat (3.3%), Pontian (2.7%), Kota Tinggi (2.7%), Muar (2.2%), Ledang (1.9%), Pontian (1.9%) and Mersing (0.5%).

Ayob added that there were 35 hotspots in Johor Baru alone with two in Kulai and one in Batu Pahat.

“Most of the cases in Johor Baru are due to the rapid development and construction taking place in the city.

“Out of the 120 development projects in Johor Baru, at least 40% to 50% were found to be Aedes breeding grounds,” he added.

He hoped that agencies, especially the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), would use its powers and temporarily close down worksites found to be breeding grounds for aedes mosquitoes.

“We need stronger enforcement from all agencies,” he said, adding that the local councils also needed to play their part.

He said fighting dengue was not the sole responsibility of the Health Department.

Ayob said at present, there were 200 development projects in the state with 120 in Johor Baru.

“We plan to take action against more developers but other agencies such as the CIDB should also use the laws to compel developers to keep their worksites clean,” he said, adding that last year some 3,563 compounds had been issued and 212 cases taken to court.

Dengue fever: 336 fatalities recorded since Jan 3
FAZLEENA AZIZ New Straits Times 10 Jan 16;

PUTRAJAYA: Statistic provided by the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC), indicates that a total of 2,404 dengue cases have been recorded nationwide from January 3 to 7.

Health Ministry iDengue website showed that the number of cases in Selangor continues to soar with 1,163.

This is followed by Johor with 399 Kuala Lumpur (155), Negri Sembilan (111) and Penang (102) cases.

The number of daily cases recorded as of Jan 7 stands at 561 in all states.

The only state that has not recorded any cases is Federal Territory Labuan while Putrajaya has three and Kedah recorded four dengue cases.

From Jan 3, 2015 to Jan 6, a total of 336 people have died of dengue.

Last week, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam had said the biggest stumbling rock in the battle against dengue was the lack of an effective treatment.

He said although the vaccine has been introduced, but it was not 100 per cent effective, as it has a limited scope of usage. “After taking these two factors into consideration, whatever we have is all about control.

“One is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and the other is controlling the breeding of mosquitoes,” he said.

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