Malaysia: Terengganu not taking chances despite drop in dengue cases

QISHIN TARIQ The Star 17 Jan 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: There is a drop in the number of dengue patients in the state but the capital here remains on high alert after two new localities were declared outbreak areas.

State Health Department director Dr Mohamed Omar said the new localities – Kondo Rakyat Kuala Ibai and Lorong Bakti – brought the total number of outbreak areas to 14.

However, he said the total number of dengue patients in Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah – where all dengue cases are being referred to – had dropped to 100 from 125 on Friday.

At the peak, the hospital had three dedicated dengue wards, serving 159 patients.

“It’s under control, though it’s still in an outbreak situation. We have fewer cases, but they’re spread out,” Dr Mohamed told a press conference before a statewide Gotong-Royong Perdana programme yesterday.

Dr Mohamed said new cases had decreased to about 10-15 a day, about the same level as before the outbreak was declared.

“Problem is, in Kuala Terengganu, people can travel between localities in under five minutes,” he said, adding that people who had the virus could spread it when a mosquito bit them and transferred it to someone else.

State Assembly Speaker Datuk Mohd Zubir Embong called the rising trend “very worrying”, saying there had been 123 cases, up from 60 in the same period last year.

Kampung Panji Alam and Haji Losong were still the worst hit areas, with 24 and 18 cases.

He said residents appeared slack about keeping their areas clean, with some areas that had gotong-royong programmes already seeing garbage strewn around again.

Mohd Zubir said the state had been more strict – issuing 69 compounds to dirty areas in the last month.

He said the Gotong-Royong Perdana programme had the participation of some 1,000 volunteers from colleges, the Health Depar­t­ment, the Fire and Rescue Depart­ment and the 1M4U squad.

The Health Department hopes to declare the outbreak over by the end of the month.

According to its protocol, no new cases are to be reported for 14 days before an area can be declared cleared.

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