Malaysia Faces Alarming Dengue Outbreak With 25 Deaths In Only Two Months

The Health Ministry is asking for the cooperation of the public to help combat the alarming dengue outbreak that has claimed 25 lives in only two months.

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In Just Two Months, Malaysia Has Recorded 13,915 Cases Of Dengue And A Total Of 25 Deaths Since The Start Of 2014

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Deaths from dengue fever have nearly tripled in Malaysia this year compared to the same period in 2013, sparking a stepped-up campaign to control the mosquitoes that spread the virus.

The total so far this year is 13,915 cases and 25 deaths. A total of 2,265 cases with six deaths were reported from February 9 to 15.

A total of 1,946 cases were recorded in the second week of January (5 to 12) and it saw a rise of 907 cases.

This compares to 2,559 cases and five deaths during the same time frame in 2013.

Since The End Of 2013, There Have Been 2,000 Cases Of Dengue Reported Weekly

"The infection rate started to go up at the end of last year," he said when contacted.

This Is The Worst Dengue Outbreak Malaysia Has Seen Since 2010 When 46,171 Cases Were Reported And 134 People Died

Malaysia suffered the worst dengue bout on record in 2010, when 134 people died and 46,171 cases were reported. In 2011, 36 people died in Malaysia, with 19,884 people infected.

The Health Ministry Has Identified 594 Dengue Hotspots Especially In Selangor And Kuala Lumpur

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Deputy Director-General of Health (Public Health) Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said the ministry has identified 594 dengue hotspots in the country, with 115 in Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

The government also has ordered local clinics in dengue "hot spot" areas - which have been concentrated in and around the capital Kuala Lumpur - to extend their operating hours to accommodate the roughly 2,000 new cases emerging weekly.

A Universiti Malaya Dengue Expert Says This Is Part Of The Normal Major Outbreak Cycle That Happens Once Every 3, 7, or 8 Years

The current dengue situation is the result of a normal major outbreak cycle and dengue patients should use repellents to prevent mosquitoes from biting them and infecting others, said a professor of virology.

Universiti Malaya dengue expert Prof Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar said there was a major dengue outbreak once every three, seven or eight years.

The current outbreak was a result of this normal major outbreak cycle.

He added that from 2007 to 2010, there had been one major outbreak involving over 45,000 cases, while in 2011 and 2012, the number of infections decreased significantly to less than 25,000 cases.

In An Effort To Control The Outbreak, The Authorities Have Launched A Nationwide Anti-Mosquito Campaign

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To try to reduce dengue, Health Ministry officials routinely search thousands of premises around the country to identify potential breeding grounds. People who have pools of stagnant water containing Aedes’s larvae face fines of a minimum of 500 ringgit (US$152). Those who fail to pay could be fined as much as 10,000 ringgit, face up to two years in jail, or both for a first offense. Repeat offenders can be fined five times as much or face five years imprisonment.

Health Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the ministry will be fogging using a combination of insecticide and temephos to kill adult mosquitos and their larvae. “Strict observation at hotspots will continue during this effort,” he said.
“The fogging will be carried out for four weeks.”

Fogging will be carried out throughout dengue hotspots within the Klang Valley from this week.

There is no vaccine, so prevention focuses on mosquito control.

Besides Insecticides, Health Officials Will Also Integrate The Biological Agent Bacillus Thurin­giensis Israelensis (BTI) Into Fogging Exercises To Kill The Aedes Mosquitos

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The severe outbreak of dengue fever, at approximately 2,000 cases a week, has prompted health officials to attempt to integrate the biological agent Bacillus thurin­giensis israelensis (BTI) into the mosquito control strategy.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subra­maniam said of BTI, “Instead of using just insecticide to kill the (adult) Aedes, we are now also fogging with a biological agent.”

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subra­maniam said this was the first time BTI was being used in a large-scale campaign against a dengue epidemic.

“Instead of using just insecticide to kill the (adult) Aedes, we are now also fogging with a biological agent,” said Dr Subramaniam when visiting the Mentari Court apartments here yesterday.

Urging the public not to be alarmed by what appears to be a powdery substance, he said BTI was effective for one month.

Besides BTI, the Government is also spraying temephos, a chemical to kill larvae along with mosquito traps to nab the adults.

BTI is a bacterium found naturally in soils, and has been used worldwide as a biological control agent to combat mosquitoes and black flies since 1982.
During the spore-forming stage of its life cycle, the bacterium produces a protein crystal which is toxic only to mosquito and black fly larvae.

These protein crystals will be lodged in the larvae’s digestive system when they are feeding.

When the crystals dissolve, they will liberate toxic protein molecules that start to attack the larvae’s stomach lining, causing the creature to die within days.

Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam Says The Community Must Help The Government Fight The War Against Dengue In Order To Control The Outbreak

The ‘war’ against dengue must be fought by all agencies and also the community by large, as it cannot be handled by the government alone, says Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

“Everybody must contribute towards reducing the breeding grounds for mosquito that enables larvae to populate.
“If we all work together we can reduce the number of breeding places as one way to control dengue,” said Subramaniam.

Nevertheless he disagreed with the idea that the government, and in particular the health ministry, has failed in their efforts to curb the rise of dengue cases in the country.
“The situation could have been far worse if the government had not taken any measures to control the dengue in the nation,” he said.

Deputy Director-General of Health (Public Health) Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman Says Countries Worldwide Are Facing An Increase In Dengue Cases And Deaths

Deputy Director-General of Health (Public Health) Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman Say Countries Worldwide Are Facing An Increase In Dengue Cases And Deaths

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Expressing concern, Deputy Director-General of Health (Public Health) Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said today: "Dengue is not only a big issue in Malaysia but also globally, as countries worldwide are experiencing an increase in deaths and cases and this is very worrying."

"We can only contain the outbreak with public cooperation, especially from people living in urban areas," he said, adding that three states have shown high incidences of the disease – Negri Sembilan, Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya and Sarawak.

Lokman said the ministry has intensified its efforts to contain the outbreak but added that the public also needs to play an important role by keeping their houses and surroundings clean and free of mosquito breeding grounds.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 40% Of The World's Population Are At Risk Of Dengue

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), dengue cases has grown dramatically around the world in recent decades. Over 2.5 billion people – more than 40% of the world's population – are now at risk from dengue and WHO currently estimates that there may be 50 million to 100 million dengue infections worldwide every year.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 40% Of The World's Population Are At Risk Of Dengue

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The Health Ministry Advises The Public To Seek Immediate Medical Help If They Are Suffering From High Fever

He urged members of the public suffering from high fever (40°C/ 104°F) accompanied by two of the following symptoms: severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or rashes, to seek immediate medical help.

He also advised parents to be extra cautious during early mornings and evenings because those are the periods when dengue mosquitoes are most active. “Parents should be alert, especially when sending their children to schools early in the morning,” he said. “Try and prevent children from playing outdoors during the evenings.”

INFOGRAPHIC: Symptoms Of Dengue Fever

INFOGRAPHIC: Symptoms Of Dengue Fever

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In Sept 2013, A Health Official Was Caught Planting Mosquito Larva In A Shop