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Alarming Rise In Dengue Fever In SEA May Be Driven By Covid-19

Alarming Rise In Dengue Fever In SEA May Be Driven By Covid-19

Akmal Hakim

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It looks like the Covid-19 pandemic is not the only deadly virus that the people of Southeast Asia needs to be worried about. Global experts have noticed an alarming rise in the number of mosquito-borne dengue cases across the region.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), outbreaks of dengue fever may have skyrocketed in SEA due to Covid-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.

As more and more people are socially distancing themselves indoors, experts say that the Aedes mosquito – the bug responsible for carrying and transmitting the dengue virus – might be having the time of their lives, thriving in our tropical climate with no one cleaning up or destroying their breeding grounds.

A worker carries out fogging to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. ― Malay Mail pic
Authorities conducting fogging operations to be rid of mosquitoes.
(Credit: Malay Mail)

And with more and more people being stuck inside, experts are also saying that the lockdowns might just have created the perfect environment for mosquitoes to flourish from the endless supply of blood (aka. us…) that are, more or less, trapped for the slaughter.

Experts are also attributing the mosquito problem to a “longer than usual” monsoon season that’s blowing through the region.

Reportedly, dengue outbreaks are occurring at an alarming rate in Singapore, Indonesia as well as here at home.

Since January 2020, there have been more than 50,000 cases of dengue fever reported across the country, with a total of 88 deaths.

The Malaysian Health Ministry (MOH) had also expressed its concerns over the rising numbers of dengue cases which it says is increasing on an average of 8% every week.

Not only that, but there have also been reports of several Chikungunya (CHIKV) outbreaks, another deadly mosquito-borne disease, happening in Penang and Perak over the past few months.

So while you are hunkering down, safe and sound from the coronavirus. Might as well have a can of bug spray handy to keep yourself protected from them pesky and deadly mosquitoes.

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