Malaysia: Dengue outbreak in Terengganu

SIM BAK HENG New Straits Times 13 Jan 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: Terengganu has officially declared it is hit by a dengue outbreak.

State Health Department director Dr Mohammad Omar said an outbreak had to be declared as three dengue deaths had been reported in the first 11 days of the year.

He said an exceptionally high number of dengue cases and dengue deaths were reported lately as the rainy season was coming to an end, followed by the hot season which offered ideal conditions for mosquito-breeding, particularly for the Aedes mosquito.

“As the Aedes mosquito population multiplies rapidly, an average of 30 dengue cases are being reported weekly in the state.

“Imagine three deaths caused by dengue fever were reported so far this year, all in Kuala Terengganu. For the first time in history, we are hit by a dengue outbreak,” he said when met yesterday.

Dengue fever claimed its third victim in the state this year following the death of a 12-year-old girl on Monday.

The other two deaths involved a 65-year-old man on Jan 2 and a 49-year-old woman on Jan 9.

It was reported that five people in the state died from dengue fever last year, compared with only two in 2014.

A total of 1,416 dengue cases were reported in the state last year. Of the total, 25 were haemorrhagic cases. In 2014, 1,653 cases were reported, 75 of which were haemorrhagic cases.

Dr Omar said the presence of trapped rainwater in garbage sites or discarded containers offered a conducive breeding ground for the vector.

“It is hard for mosquitos to breed during the rainy season due to the constant flow of rainwater which flushes away mosquito larvae.
“Things are different immediately after the rainy season.

“Any rainwater trapped in discarded containers or polystyrene boxes are easy target for mosquito breeding,” he said, adding that mosquitoes only required five millimetre of rainwater to breed.

Dr Omar said everyone should play their role in keeping the state clean and mosquito free.

Dengue ward filled to the brim
BEATRICE NITA JAY New Straits Times 13 Jan 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Extra beds have been added to the dengue ward to accommodate the increasing number of patients at Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

Since the beginning of this year, there has been a steady flow of patients admitted and diagnosed, causing the ward to be full, said a doctor who refused to be identified.

“The ward has been busy ever since the year began, and whenever one patient gets discharged, another patient gets admitted within a few hours, ” she said, adding that having enough doctors at the ward helps them to keep up with the needs of patients.

In the male dengue ward, 34 patients were admitted with 13 testing positive for the fever.

Sanjay Raj, 14, who was admitted for three days, said although the ward felt overcrowded, he did not mind it.

“The ward is always packed with patients.

“I am cleared to go back, but there are some patients here who have been admitted for almost one week,” he said.

Mohammad Nizam Ismail, 21, from Petaling Jaya, said despite efforts by the authorities, such as fogging and clearing stagnant water, many people in his residential area were suspected of having dengue, and some had tested positive for it.

“I have been here for three days.

I do have to thank the staff, despite there being so many of us. “They have been taking good care of us and making sure we get our check-ups three times a day,” he said.

On Sunday, the New Straits Times reported on the statistics provided by the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre, which indicated that 2,404 dengue cases had been recorded nationwide from Jan 3 to 7.

The number of cases in Selangor was highest with 1,163, followed by Johor (399) and Kuala Lumpur (155).

They were 336 fatalities recorded between Jan 3 and 6, with only three states not recording dengue cases.

Selangor still holds highest number of dengue cases nationwide
C. PREMANANTHINI New Straits Times 13 Jan 16;

SHAH ALAM: Selangor continues to hold the highest number of dengue cases in the country, with a total of 2,283 cases from January 3 to 12.

State Health, Welfare, Women and Family Affairs executive councillor Dr Daroyah Alwi said state government has drawn up several preventive programmes on prevention and control given the rising number of dengue cases in the state, this year.

"We have already prepared a number of outreach programmes for this year but we are waiting for the right time to launch the programmes," she said.

Dr Daroyah said the state is aware that Selangor continues to show a high number of dengue cases.

"However, the state is open to any suggestion. Maybe the ministry can provide several other measures which can help the state tackle and eradicate the dengue problem.

"We are taking the necessary initiatives to control the dengue cases.

Each year, the local authorities work closely with the residents and conduct weekly 'gotong-royong' sessions to ensure the environment is kept clean at all times," she said.

Selangor tops in dengue cases, says ministry
The Star 15 Jan 16;

PETALING JAYA: Selangor has the most reported incidences of dengue cases, with the current number at 2,595, reported between Jan 3 and 13, said the Health Ministry’s information website iDengue.

Johor ranked number two with 858 cases, while Kuala Lumpur had 351 confirmed incidences.

Only Labuan showed zero reported cases, according to the website.

Selangor districts also dominated the “hot spot” list (areas with outbreaks lasting more than 30 days), with 107 areas.

The data collected on the hot spot list was last updated on Jan 2.

The Star had reported there were 1,000 more cases of dengue in the first week of 2016 than last year’s weekly average, and that the Health Ministry had warned that the El Nino effect could cause a 50% increase in the average number of cases.

At the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), routine search and destroy efforts and fogging activities are still being carried out daily.

MBPJ has nine fogging teams going around twice daily – from 4.30am to 7am and from 5.30pm to 7pm.

Fogging is only done at an area after MBPJ is informed by the district health office of a dengue case.

The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) has reported 752 dengue cases last December and 308 cases so far this month.

The council has also released Toxorhynchites (Toxo) mosquitoes as a biological agent in selected areas.

Fogging activities are carried out every day as scheduled by the Petaling district health office. These activities are carried out in different locations according to the number of dengue cases and severity.

MPSJ’s corporate communications deputy director Muhd Azli Miswan said that increasing fogging frequency was not a good method to deal with the increase of dengue cases.

He said a more effective measure was for every resident to spend 10 minutes a week to search and destroy mosquito breeding grounds in their homes.

Expert: Dengue a killer but message not getting through
The Star 15 Jan 16;

PETALING JAYA: The fact that one can suffer from organ failure or even die from dengue fever should be made the focus of movies, theatre and social media to improve public awareness, says a researcher.

The World Health Organisation’s Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus Reference and Research director Prof Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar said most of those who know about the dangers of dengue are medical staff and people who are health conscious.

“But, many people do not know the severity of dengue fever and that they can die from it.

“This message is not getting across to people in the country,” he said.

Dr Sazaly said he agreed with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam’s statement that while most Malaysians had good knowledge about Aedes mosquitoes, it did not translate into action, such as destroying breeding grounds of the mosquitoes.

The message on the dangers of dengue infection, he added, should not only be reported in the press but disseminated in social media, including WhatsApp chat groups.

“It must be made a talking point,” he said.

The fact that the public were still throwing rubbish indiscriminately in parks and public areas showed that they were still not aware of the seriousness of their actions, he said.

The Health Ministry, said Dr Sazaly, could not fight the battle alone, adding that this required the involvement of the entire society in ending the scourge.

Architects and developers, he added, should also stop making buildings with flat-top roofs and open drains as this created potential spots for mosquito breeding.

In fact, a dengue-free policy must be made a part of every development project, he said.

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