Materia Medica Malaysiana

June 13, 2007

Weather blamed for dengue spike

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:31 am

NST: PUTRAJAYA: Unpredictable weather has led to an increase in dengue cases in the country.
At present, between 200 and 300 confirmed cases are reported weekly. The Health Ministry blames this on the wet and dry spells.
Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon said this had been the trend for the past month.
He said that the cases were more prevalent in urban and densely-populated areas.
Lee said there were between 900 and 1,000 suspected cases a week, much higher than the “comfortable level” of 600 a week.
“Anything more than 600 cases a week and we must be very careful.
“Of the number of suspected cases each week, 20 to 30 per cent are confirmed dengue cases,” he said yesterday after launching a seminar on obesity by Puspanita (association for wives of civil servants).
Lee said the situation was because of rainy spells interspersed with hot and dry periods, which allowed stagnant water to serve as breeding grounds for the aedes mosquito.
Breeding grounds were mainly found in homes and construction sites.
Kuala Lumpur and Selangor topped the list of dengue hotspots in the country.
It was reported that Southeast Asia was in the midst of a dengue surge.
The disease was already endemic to the region but experts believed that global warming was worsening the situation and could produce more virulent strains of the dengue virus.
Lee said the Institute of Medical Research and universities were working closely with the World Health Organisation to curb the disease.
He added that Malaysia also regularly exchanged information with Singapore, with the last meeting held two weeks ago.
“Singapore has also reported about 200 to 300 confirmed cases a week.”
Earlier, Lee read the text of Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek’s speech onobesity, which was said to be more prevalent among women than men.
Ministry statistics last year showed that for every 100 people aged 25 to 64, there were 14 men and 19 women who were obese.
Among children, a study conducted by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia found that 10.5 per cent of schoolchildren were overweight and six per cent were obese.
Malaysia has the second highest overweight problem in Southeast Asia.
Dr Chua said: “Being fat is no longer a sign of wealth and prosperity. It is an open door to chronic diseases like heart ailments, diabetes and stroke.
“It also increases the risk of cancer, osteoarthritis and stones in the gall bladder.”
He said women tended to be fatter than men because of their physiological make-up with more fat cells, and were therefore at a higher risk of becoming obese.
The minister said the cure to obesity, besides good eating habits, was instilling a love for exercise in children.
Adults, he added, should develop the habit of exercising at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
“Weight loss must be gradual. Don’t resort to drastic measures such as taking slimming pills that can cause illnesses or even death.”

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