Malaysia: Dengue cases 65pc higher than last year

AZURA ABAS New Straits Times 28 Jan 15;

PUTRAJAYA: A total of 8,502 dengue cases were reported in the country for the first three weeks of this year compared to 5,141 cases for the same period last year, an increase of 65 per cent.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said he was worried this could be an indicator that the dengue situation this year could be far worse than last year.

"We urge everyone from the public to the medical practitioners to be vigilant by taking all the necessary measures to check the matter," he told reporters after a meeting to discuss on dengue today.

Dr Subramaniam also called on all medical practitioners in the private sector to treat all cases as dengue cases until they were proven otherwise.

This must be done, he added, because private clinics or hospitals had failed to detect 99 per cent of dengue cases of patients who came to seek treatment on their first visit.

Dengue cases take turn for the worse

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of dengue cases at Hospital Kuala Lumpur, the oldest and most-visited hospital in the country, has not only risen but become more severe.

Its internal medicine physician Dr Saiful Safuan Md Sani said there had been an increase of about 20% of dengue patients at the hospital.

Seven dengue patients with encephalitis had also been admitted in the past month, with four of them dying compared to an average of only one or two such cases a year.

“We do not know yet why patients are suffering a more severe dengue infection. They should seek treatment immediately if they suffer from vomiting, persistent abdominal pains, lethargy like being unable to get out of bed, and any bleeding,” he advised.

He said that since late 2013, HKL had between 80 and 100 dengue patients at any one time but in the past month, the number had shot up to 150 patients on some days, with an average increase of about 20%.

Since Monday, HKL has opened up two bigger wards for dengue patients, while the current wards were being used as spill-over cases from the bigger wards, he said.

“We are also adding a few canvas and trolley beds as back-up and should the need arise, we will put patients in general wards,” he added.

Dr Saiful said people must ensure that potential mosquito breeding places in their surroundings were cleaned up.

Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran said the ministry had increased 55% of the capacity for beds in the past week for dengue patients, from 408 to 639.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said one factor for the spike in cases and deaths was the shift in the dominant dengue serotype, which occurred last August, from DEN-2 to DEN-1.

From Jan 1 to 24, the Health Ministry reported 8,502 dengue cases nationwide, an increase of 65% or 3,361 cases compared with the same period last year (5,141 cases).

Foreign workers make up one third of HKL dengue patients
The Star 30 Jan 15;

KUALA LUMPUR: Migrant workers seeking treatment at Hospital Kuala Lumpur in recent days made up one-third of the dengue patients at its wards.

Its internal medicine physician Dr Saiful Safuan Md Sani said the workers were mostly Indonesian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Nepalese.

“Whether locals or foreigners, the patients at HKL tend to come from crowded neighbourhoods,” he said.

The Malaysian Employers Fede­ration called on its members to provide proper housing for foreign workers and teach them good hygiene.

Its executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said foreign workers should not be made to live in makeshift quarters with no proper facilities.

“If their workers are unhygienic, dengue could spread among them, affecting productivity and profits,” he reminded employers

There should also be better waste management at construction sites to prevent the spread of disease, he said.

“There are often piles of rubbish left at these sites which attract flies, while pools of stagnant water make it easy for mosquitoes to breed.

“Employers need to teach their workers about proper hygiene and how to look after their workplace and accomodations,” he added.

On Sunday, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said 3,000 new dengue cases were recorded nationwide in the past week, with 1,000 being in Selangor.

Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali said the administration had been proactive in fighting the disease.

“We initiated the Terjah dan Musnah (Ambush and Destroy) anti-aedes campaign in areas with a high number of dengue cases,” he said after attending an event at the Tengku Ampuan Jemaah Mosque in Bukit Jelutong here.

Azmin said the problem should be addressed collectively by both the state and federal governments.