Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 1, 2008

Fighting dengue by ending city ignorance

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 12:15 pm

NST: SHAH ALAM: The state has labelled the battle against dengue as a fight against ignorance and warned that urban dwellers ignore the problem to their own peril.
A total of 15,871 cases with 32 deaths were reported last year with 86 per cent of cases concentrated in municipalities.
Selangor executive councilor for health Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar said most dengue cases in the state were concentrated in urban centres and a multi-focal approach to counter ignorance was needed.
He said Shah Alam had the most cases with 2,476 reported last year despite it being a modern city, while Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) had 2,081 cases and Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MBSJ) 1,999 cases.
“These numbers are not due to the lack of effort by authorities but because the community is ignorant of how the disease is spread.”
He said educating the urban communities and changes in lifestyle were needed to counter the spread of the disease, adding that there had been 10 deaths so far this year.
Selangor Health Department officers who briefed Dr Xavier on the dengue situation in the state yesterday disclosed that both MPSJ and the Ulu Selangor District Council had registered two deaths each, with one each in MBSA, MBKJ, Petaling Jaya City Council, Ampang Jaya Municipal Council, Klang Municipal Council and Ulu Langat District Council.
Dr Xavier said anti dengue education programmes and advertisements would soon be aired on Selangor FM, the state government’s radio station, in order to reach out to the masses.
Health officials would soon be visiting homes suspected of breeding Aedes mosquitoes, on weekends and public holidays.
The move is to ensure owners are at home to allow health officers into the premises.
Notices will be left at unoccupied homes and if the owners failed to contact authorities for joint inspections, drastic actions will be employed.
Dr Xavier said health officials’ efforts against dengue were also hindered by abandoned high-rise buildings which have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
However, he assured the people that ways would be found to counter all problems, including expanding manpower.
Dr Xavier said a review would also be conducted on private contractors hired to conduct fogging exercises to ensure they were supervised when carrying out the task.
He said there were four strains of dengue in Malaysia and the disease was no longer considered a seasonal problem because of changing weather patterns.
He said mosquito eggs could last up to six months and hatch when water becomes available.

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