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Brace Yourselves: Over 37,000 Dengue Cases Reported Nationwide Since January

Brace Yourselves: Over 37,000 Dengue Cases Reported Nationwide Since January

Kirat Kaur

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Ever since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic in March, it’s pretty much the No. 1 health issue in the nation – for good reason, of course.

However, there is another insidious threat that’s waiting by the wings – Dengue.

According to the Health Ministry’s National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre’s Dengue Operations Centre iDengue website, Malaysia has a recorded 37,840 dengue cases in just 4 months – that’s about 7 times higher than the national Covid-19 statistics.

Between January and 19th April, a total of 63 deaths due to dengue were reported.

A large number of these dengue cases come from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, which are at the heart of several hotspots for the mosquito-related disease. Just last week, Selangor reported 7 deaths over a one-month since the Movement Control Order (MCO) began on 18th March. 

Dengue hotspots around Selangor and Kuala Lumpur outlined at the iDengue website.

According to the Standing Committee on Health chairman Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, there is a 4.9% reduction in dengue cases but an increase in fatalities by 21.05% when compared to the same time period last year.

Dr Siti also states that dengue control activities have been limited to non-contact activities in the outbreak and hotspot areas due to the MCO and health resources focused on battling Covid-19.

This is a cause of concern.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia public health specialist Associate Prof Dr Rozita Hod told Bernama that the threat of dengue may be forgotten amid the Covid-19 crisis.

As we all know, dengue is dangerous as it can cause death and there is no specific cure for it. Right now while we are busy fighting Covid-19, people are starting to forget how dangerous dengue is.

Associate Prof Dr Rozita Hod, Public Health Specialist, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia to Bernama.

Not only that, she explains that the current rainy season is ripe for Aedes mosquitoes to breed.

Aedes aegypti is a species of mosquito that can cause dengue fever in humans.
(Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Dengue viruses are spread to people through the bites of infected Aedes species mosquitoes.

The current weather of blazing afternoons and rainy evenings is also an invitation for dengue-carrying Aedes mosquitoes to breed, possibly leading to more people infected by the disease.

With government hospitals and clinics tied up with the Covid-19 outbreak, Dr Rozita says that the last thing we need right now is a surge in dengue cases.

Be sure to regularly clean or get rid of potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which are containers or locations with stagnant waters. These mosquitoes typically lay eggs near standing water in containers that hold water, like buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots, and vases.

Different water containers serving as breeding sites for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes around households. (Credit: Researchgate)

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