Dengue cases on the rise in Malaysia

Selangor worst hit as the country heads for another year of record infections

GEORGE TOWN • The number of dengue cases is rising in Malaysia, and Selangor remains at the top of the list of states with the most infections officially recorded.

The country is on track for another record year of infections.

Deputy Health Minister Hilmi Yahaya said that the number of cases nationwide had reached 71,001 between January and Monday, compared with 55,237 for the same period last year.

"This is worrying. We hope the community will work with us to fight the dengue scourge," the New Straits Times quoted him as saying yesterday after he launched an anti-dengue programme.

In Selangor, there were 40,058 cases between January and Monday, against 30,111 for the same period last year, said Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi. Next came Johor, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Penang, which also showed a rise in the number of cases recorded, he said.

Over the same period, the number of deaths rose as well, from 104 last year to 192 this year.

For the whole of last year, nearly 109,000 were infected and 215 died, setting a record, said The Star.

Meanwhile, the government has been stepping up its battle against the mosquito-borne illness.

Over the June to September period, 100,000 anti-dengue kits are being given out in Selangor and Johor, as well as Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Each kit contains a Denguard mosquito repellent, a Mousticide biolarvicide that kills Aedes larvae, and an Aedes larvae ovi-trap that traps mosquitoes into breeding in treated water.

In June, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Ewon Ebin said a "dengue-free squad" would be set up in high-risk neighbourhoods, The Star reported. Its members were to be trained to use the kit to combat the disease.

Earlier this year, fogging neighbourhoods with a broad-spectrum insecticide was trialled in Selangor districts with a high number of dengue cases.

Globally, an estimated half a million people a year contract severe dengue, often accompanied by bleeding and shock, and require hospitalisation, according to the World Health Organisation. Many of the cases are children.

The annual economic cost of dengue illness in Asia is estimated at US$2 billion (S$2.8 billion), which does not include the cost of preventive and vector control efforts.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2015, with the headline 'Dengue cases on the rise in Malaysia'. Print Edition | Subscribe