February 9, 2024
PETALING JAYA – The number of dengue cases in the country this year is rising on a sharper trajectory compared to the same period last year, based on data from the Health Ministry.
Its director-general Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan said 18,247 cases were recorded during the first five weeks of 2024, up 65.6% compared to the 11,127 cases in the same period last year.
In terms of deaths, nine were reported this year compared to six in the same period last year, he said.
At the moment, there are 180 hotspots, with 143 of them in Selangor, 20 in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, seven in Negri Sembilan, four in Perak, three in Penang, and one each in Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak.
“During the fifth week of 2024, the total number of dengue cases is 3,969, compared to 3,781 in the previous week. No dengue deaths were reported during the fifth week,” he said.
“For chikungunya surveillance, one case was recorded during the fifth week, bringing the cumulative cases to three. No chikungunya outbreaks were reported.”
At the same time, Dr Radzi said the upcoming festive seasons and school holidays could facilitate the spread of dengue, a viral disease spread through the bites of the Aedes mosquito.
“Before leaving home, make sure there are no containers that can hold water in the house, close all containers that store water tightly, and use insecticides.
“Take self-prevention measures, especially if you are in a risk area, such as wearing light-coloured clothes, using mosquito repellent and covering exposed limbs, especially when you are outside during the peak of Aedes mosquito bites, between 5am and 8am, and from 5pm to 8pm.
“Before entering the house after returning from vacation, use an aerosol insecticide spray all over the house to kill the adult mosquitoes that are hiding,” he said yesterday.
Public health expert Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar reminded everyone to do their respective parts so that the predicted spike in dengue cases could be lessened.
He said that with the upcoming hot season and sporadic rain, chances for breeding are high as mosquitoes are more active during hot weather, while water ponding or retention increases potential breeding grounds.
“The public should know, be aware and take preventive action to avoid the infection, and seek early treatment,” he said when contacted.
To better manage dengue, he said mosquito breeding places must be reduced so that there will be fewer adult mosquitoes in the surroundings.
“Get early treatment if you have a fever and avoid unnecessary exposure in hot areas,” he added.
Yesterday, The Star reported that padi farmers in Kedah were told to prepare for the worst as there could be a drought, which would affect rice fields’ irrigation system.
Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) director-general Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said the current hot and dry spell, especially in the northern parts of the peninsula, is due to the La Nina phenomenon, which is predicted for February and March.