Malaysia: Use biological methods to solve dengue issue, Selangor urged

WANI MUTHIAH The Star 11 Apr 16;

KLANG: The relevant authorities should consider using biological methods to counter the dengue epidemic in the country which is fast spiralling out of control.

Former president of the Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine Assoc Prof Dr S. Vellayan said this method included the use of fish, dragonflies and genetically engineered mosquitoes to battle Aedes mosquitoes.

“The western mosquito fish known as Gambusia affinis, which eats mosquito larvae, can be released into drains, ponds and places with stagnant water.

“This method has been used in countries such as the United States, China and Cambodia to control the mosquito population,” said Dr Vellayan, who is with Universiti Teknologi Mara Puncak Alam’s Faculty of Pharmacy.

He said freshwater shrimps could also be used to control larvae from becoming mosquitoes.

According to Dr Vellayan, dragonflies, which are also being used extensively in Cambodia and some parts of the United States, could also be released in specific areas for the purpose.

“The dragonfly nymphs in the water eat the mosquito larvae and the dragonflies eat the adult mosquitoes,” said Dr Vellayan, who is a veterinarian.

He explained that genetically engineered mosquitoes could also be released to mate with Aedes mosquitoes and since the engineered variety was barren, there would not be any spawning of eggs.

“Mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria can also be released to eliminate the Aedes,” he said.

When a male mosquito infected with Wolbachia mates with a female Aedes mosquito, her eggs will not hatch.

He added that the initiatives should be undertaken by the respective local councils and City Halls as the dengue menace was no longer a medical issue but an environmental problem.

Klang MP Charles Santiago concurred that dengue was now an environmental problem and as a result, the local councils had a bigger role to play since garbage and filthy surroundings were the biggest contributors to Aedes breeding grounds.

Santiago said some of the local councils in Selangor were slow and sometimes not receptive to suggestions and ideas given to them to counter the dengue menace.

To rectify this, he said Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s office should be directly responsible for dengue eradication activities if the state wanted to effectively counter the epidemic.

Selangor has consistently recorded the highest number of dengue cases in the country with 65,168 cases – almost 50% of the 120,836 cases recorded nationwide in 2015.

This year, Selangor again recorded the highest with 13,306 cases between January and March 2.

Out of the 55 dengue-linked deaths nationwide during the same period, 18 were from Selangor.

Overall dengue cases reduced, but seven states show increase
HASHINI KAVISHTRI KANNAN New Straits Times 10 Apr 16;

PUTRAJAYA: Dengue cases have reduced from February until the end of March this year, similar to last year's trend within the same period.

In a statement today, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said a total of 2,130 cases were reported throughout the country from March 27 to April 2.

"There are five less cases compared to the week before which had 2,135 cases," he said.

He, however, noted that seven states showed an increase in dengue cases in the past week.

"The states are Selangor with 35 cases (2.9 per cent increase), Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya (15 cases or 10.4 per cent), Sarawak (12 cases or 24 per cent), Sabah (eight or 28.6 per cent), Negri Sembilan (two cases or 3.3 per cent), Perlis (one case or 50 per cent) and Pahang (one or two per cent)," he said.

From Jan 2 to April 2, Dr Noor said, total cumulative cases for dengue cases showed an increase of 8.9 per cent or 3,046 cases, leaving the total case as of last week at 37,190 cases compared to the same period last year with 34,144 cases.

Dr Noor said the number of fatalities also reduced to 87 deaths in the 13th week of year compared the 108 deaths in 2015.

He said that in efforts to reduce the number of cases, the ministry has also conducted checks on construction sites.

"A total of 2,334 construction sites were inspected in which 743 sites have found to be Aedes mosquito breeding grounds," he said.

Meanwhile, he said no Zika cases have been reported so far. "Zika and dengue cases can be avoided if people practice a clean lifestyle.

"People must work together to clean and destroy Aedes breeding sites in their surroundings," he added.

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