More dengue cases likely in Selangor next year, says Malaysian expert

Malaysia recorded 83,752 dengue cases with 134 deaths as of Nov 7. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Selangor state has topped the list with over 41,000 dengue cases compared to other states nationwide so far this year and this is expected to increase until early next year, said a health expert.

Universiti Malaya virology and bacteriology expert Professor Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar said the dengue pattern remained similar to last year, albeit seeing lower numbers.

He added that the trend was the same each year - it happened always at the end of the year.

"The figures will go all the way up until early next year up to around April before it dips again.

"The pattern remains similar regardless of the Covid-19 pandemic or the movement control order, " said Prof Sazaly in an interview on Wednesday (Nov 11).

Based on Health Ministry data between Nov 1 and Nov 7 (the 45th week), Selangor recorded the highest number of cases with 440 reported in both the 44th and 45th week, bringing the total cases to 41,619 with 36 deaths so far.

The figures are lower than the same period last year with 62,009 cases and 50 deaths.

During the same week, Malaysia recorded 999 dengue cases, a decrease of 3.9 per cent (1,040 cases) from the previous week.

Cumulatively, Malaysia recorded 83,752 dengue cases with 134 deaths as of Nov 7, compared to 112,345 cases and 158 deaths in the same period last year.

"The slightly lower figures this year is expected because dengue often recurs at places where it happened before.

"Hotspots are always similar due to high population density in the house or community and the same behaviour of residents when it comes to their environment.

"This includes unchanged habits of littering, walking in the park in the evening and not using mosquito repellent, " he added.

Prof Sazaly said the intensity was not too high this time around as some who got infected developed immunity, adding that they did not get infected if the virus was of the same strain.

Similar to Covid-19, he said dengue was transmittable during the incubation period.

"When you are having dengue fever, there is a very high amount of virus in the blood. When the mosquito bites you and sucks your blood, it transfers the virus when biting another person.

"Although it is not as fast as Covid-19, the spread is still there and that's why it is still going on in cycles, " he said, adding that dengue patients with fever could be transmitting it unknowingly.

To stop contracting dengue, he said the use of mosquito repellent was vital, especially at hotspots.

Dengue cases have been on the rise since Oct 25, especially in densely populated states.

One fatality was reported in Melaka.

Johor is the second highest state with 193 and 156 dengue cases in the 44th and 45th week.

So far, it has recorded 10,508 cases and 39 deaths, both increases from last year's 9,491 cases and 25 deaths.

Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya have recorded 9,836 cases, followed by Kelantan (3,780), Sabah (3,733), Pahang (2,929), Negri Sembilan (2,696), Perak (2,546), Melaka (2,539), Sarawak (1,437), Penang (932), Kedah (740), Terengganu (371) and Perlis (80).

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