Malaysia: Heed El Nino warning and wipe out Zika, says expert

The Star 6 Feb 16;

PETALING JAYA: South-east Asian countries must heed the El Nino warning and control Aedes mosquitoes in efforts to eradicate the Zika and dengue viruses, says a Universiti Malaya research consultant.

Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Lam Sai Kit said a recent meeting of public health scientists and leaders of South-east Asia held here confirmed the high transmission of mosquito-borne dengue virus in the region due to the intense El Niño emerging in the Pacific.

Dr Lam said representatives from 10 countries noted the high transmission of dengue at the close of 2015 was a result of the elevated temperatures the last few weeks, and added there was the potential of a large outbreak this year.

“One of the largest El Niño episodes in recent memory occurred in the past several months, and temperatures are rising throughout South-east Asia,” he added.

“The dialogue that began at this conference will continue with the intent of lessening public health burden from dengue that we expect over the next year.

“We represent one of the first examples of countries coming together to counter a dengue epidemic before it happens,” Dr Lam added.

Dengue claims seventh fatality in Terengganu
ZARINA ABDULLAH New Straits Times 5 Feb 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: An eight-year-old girl became Terengganu's seventh dengue victim when she died while receiving treatment at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital (HSNZ).

State Health director Dr Muhammad Omar said the girl was a pupil of Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Budiman. She had lived in the same residential area as a 21-year-old girl who also died of dengue last week.

Muhammad said the girl was admitted to the hospital three days ago after she vomited, suffered diarrhoea and eventually collapsed at home.

"She was weak when her parents sent her to the hospital. She died at 3.30pm yesterday," he said.

Dr Muhammad said although the number of dengue patients in Kuala Terengganu had dropped from more than 200 patients to 102 patients, the department is still on the hunt for Aedes breeding areas which may have been overlooked during fogging exercises.

"We still have 776 cases recorded throughout the state.

We view each case seriously and want to identify if there are any new dengue strains. "We have to immediately check for vector-borne diseases as soon as it is reported," he said.

He said three hotspots have been identified in Kuala Terengganu namely Jalan Panji Alam, Chendering Pantai and Losong Haji Mat Shafie.

Dengue claims Year Two pupil in Terengganu

KUALA TERENGGANU: A Year Two pupil became the latest dengue casualty in the state, bringing the total number of dengue deaths to seven.

State Health Department director Dr Mohammad Omar on Friday said the eight-year-old girl of SK Seri Budiman 2 died at 3.30pm on Thursday at Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah.

She was from Jalan Masjid, Batu Burok, here.

"This is the fourth death involving a student this year," he told reporters after a gotong-royong event here.

As of Friday, Dr Mohammad said the state had recorded 776 cases in 37 dengue outbreak localities, including three hotspots: Panji Alam, Chendering Pantai and Losing Haji Mat Shafie.

More dengue deaths as Zika looms
ROYCE TAN The Star 5 Feb 16;

KAJANG: Barely over a month into the new year, fighting dengue remains a priority for the country with an alarming rate of 37 deaths so far.

The desperation is further driven by the looming Zika epidemic.

The number of deaths is only slightly lower than the 40 recorded from Jan 1 to Feb 2 last year.

The number of cases were higher at 15,251 compared to 13,251 during the same period last year.

Selangor topped the list with 7,355 cases, followed by 2,379 cases in Johor and 994 in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Twelve dengue deaths were recorded in Selangor, seven in Penang and six in Terengganu.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said it was even more worrying with the Zika scare hovering.

The World Health Organisation warned that the virus was spreading in the Americas, with three to four million cases expected this year.

Closer to Malaysia, an Indonesian research team has found a positive Zika case in Sumatra on Sunday.

Dr Subramaniam said getting rid of the breeding grounds was the root solution to bringing dengue under control.

The effort, he said, would also be important to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.

“We constantly carry out methods such as widespread larvicidal spraying to destroy larvae and outdoor residual spraying, which is best when used on high-rise residences,” he said after visiting the Seri Cempaka Apartment in Bandar Baru Bangi here yesterday.

The apartment, which had 41 dengue cases last month, was one of the 233 hotspots nationwide.

There were six dengue outbreaks at the apartment last year and the longest was for three months.

In Johor Baru, the public especially urbanites have been told to clean up their act to prevent any more unnecessary deaths due to the dengue virus.

Johor Health and Environment committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the virus had already claimed three deaths in Johor, which was one more than the two recorded in January last year.

The state also saw a total of 2,115 dengue cases in January, a 201.7% increase from the 701 cases recorded for the same period last year.

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