Posts tagged ‘Dengue’
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam has called on local authorities in Selangor to “wake up to the reality” of the increasing number of dengue cases, and immediately remedy the waste disposal problems and that he said are leading a spike in the mosquito population.
“At the present moment, the level of dengue control activity shown by local authorities particularly in Selangor including MPPJ (Petaling Jaya), MPSJ (Subang Jaya) and Shah Alam is not up to the mark,” the Malaysian Indian Congress Member of Parliament said in a statement on Sunday (July 20).
“They should probably reduce their other activities and concentrate on dengue control activities for the next two months. Our figure shows that most of the local authorities are only reaching about 15 to 20 per cent of the expected number of activities. This is one of the reasons why the number of dengue cases is increasing in Selangor.”
Dr Subramaniam accompanied Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on a visit of dengue-hit areas of the opposition-held state on Saturday. For the year up to July 17, 50,804 cases of dengue had been reported in Malaysia, with 94 deaths recorded, according to Bernama.
“WAKE UP TO REALITY”
On Sunday, the Health Minister specifically called on the local authorities to concentrate on facilitating the disposal of solid waste, which he said is currently “a very poor state”, leading to the breeding of mosquitoes.
“The collection of refuse rubbish and their disposal is not done according to the set routine and set programme; and as a result there has been environmental pollution, and this has increased the risk of the breeding of mosquitoes. It is high time the Selangor state government and the local authorities give serious thoughts to their solid waste disposable programme, identify its weaknesses and remedy it immediately,” he said.
“I would suggest to the Selangor state government to come out with an interim measure to increase the efficiency of solid waste disposal for the next two months. Failure to do this will further increase the risk of the disease spreading.
“I hope the Selangor state government and the local authorities will wake up to this reality and start fulfilling their responsibilities so that the people would not be exposed to unnecessary danger.”
A DENGUE outbreak in Malaysia has reached epidemic proportions, killing 87 people so far this year, the Health Ministry said, despite government pleas to residents to clean up areas where mosquitos that carry the disease breed.
“The epidemic we face now can be said to be the worst in our national history,” said Health Minister S. Subramaniam at a press conference at Sarawak General Hospital last Friday, according to the New Sarawak Tribune.
As of Saturday, the ministry reported 46,681 dengue cases – up 246 per cent from the same period last year. The 87 deaths attributed to dengue marks a 222 per cent surge from last year.
Datuk Seri Dr Subramaniam blamed the epidemic on an increase in the breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquitoes, the carrier of the dengue virus, despite regular fogging activities.
“Some 90 per cent of the 93 hot spots nationwide are found in Selangor, with the Petaling district reporting a higher number of incidents,” he said on Tuesday.
More than half of the country’s dengue cases are in Selangor state, the Health Ministry statistics showed, mostly in the Petaling district, including the Petaling Jaya suburb, where more than 600,000 people live.
Hot spots have also been found in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, with 4,007 dengue cases and seven deaths, and Perak, with 2,956 cases and seven deaths. Johor reported 2,632 cases and 14 deaths.
A dengue hot spot is where an outbreak has occurred for 30 days or more. Dr H. Krishna Kumar, president of Malaysian Medical Association, said that despite repeated warnings by the health authorities, Malaysians appeared apathetic about preventing Aedes mosquitoes from breeding in their homes, causing an increase in the number of dengue hot spots.
The mosquitoes breed in stagnant water in uncovered drains and containers. “We continue to see many clogged drains and breeding grounds in many housing areas,” Dr Kumar told The Straits Times yesterday. Rainfall and humid weather have also contributed to the increasing number of breeding hot spots in the last two months.
The health authorities started conducting spot checks and imposing fines in neighbourhoods as far back as January. Doctors who fail to report dengue cases to the Health Ministry can be fined RM1,000 (S$390) per patient.
Mr Dominic Loh, 35, a consultant living in Petaling Jaya, yesterday said he recently bought citronella candles to ward off mosquitoes. “The candles are not really working,” he said. “But installing mosquito nets is too costly, so I just keep my doors and windows closed at night as well.”
A total of 556 cases were reported in the week ending June 21, up from 506 the previous week, the National Environment Agency NEA says.
SINGAPORE: The number of dengue cases in Singapore each week has continued to climb as the weather heats up, speeding up mosquito breeding.
A total of 556 cases were reported in the week ending June 21, up from 506 the previous week and more than double the 261 cases reported in the first week of last month, latest figures on the National Environment Agency (NEA) website showed.
Parts of Hougang and Serangoon that had been flagged as areas of concern by the NEA last week – more than 600 dengue cases have been reported in 17 clusters in those areas to date – continue to be hot spots.
For example, one cluster bordered by Upper Serangoon Road and Lorong Ah Soo had 161 reported cases as of Tuesday (June 24). Homes accounted for 13 out of the 17 breeding habitats spotted by officials in a recent inspection of the area. One unused cement mixer was found to contain 200 mosquito larvae, while a concrete roof gutter in a public area was found with 999 larvae.
The Flora Drive cluster in Tampines had the second-highest number of cases at 147. Twelve breeding sites were found in homes and nine in construction sites.
While last week’s tally falls short of the 842 reported in the corresponding period last year, the NEA has warned that the warmer weather – from this month to October – generally marks the peak season for dengue.
Shortened breeding and maturation cycles for the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit the disease, along with shorter incubation periods for the dengue virus, lead to a higher rate of transmission. Moreover, the predominant strain is the less common dengue serotype 1 (DEN-1) virus, which the community has lower immunity against.
The NEA said the number of cases is expected to rise through the next two or three months unless the mosquito population is brought under control.
More officers will be deployed in the problem areas of Serangoon and Hougang as well as Flora Drive to search and destroy breeding sites. Drains will also be cleaned more frequently.
SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) is exploring the use of biological control methods to control the spread of dengue in Singapore.
One of the techniques involves the use of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are infected with a certain bacteria, to control their population.
In this method, male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are infected with wolbachia, which are a type of naturally occurring bacteria found in more than 60 per cent of insect species, such as butterflies and fruit flies. However, the Aedes aegypti mosquito does not carry this bacteria.
When a male mosquito infected with this bacteria mates with a female mosquito, they produce sterile eggs that do not hatch. This will then lead to a fall in the Aedes mosquito population, and help to curb the spread of dengue.
The use of such methods is being studied in countries such as Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia. NEA said it is monitoring the results of these overseas trials.
The NEA’s Environment Health Institute has been carrying out laboratory research studies on this technology.
It is part of a larger programme aimed at curbing dengue transmission.
This is in light of the dengue challenge Singapore faces, especially during the hotter months from June to October, traditionally the peak season for dengue transmission.
During this period, the Aedes mosquitoes breed faster. The incubation period for the dengue virus they carry, is also shorter.
The number of dengue cases has been on the rise, from 292 cases in the week of May 11-17, to 461 cases in the week of June 1-7.
NEA has appointed a panel of local and international experts to provide advice on new ways of dengue control, and their safety concerns.
The panel is chaired by epidemiologist and entomologist Professor Duane Gubler, who is the founding director of the Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore.
Panel members include entomologist Professor Stephen Higgs, research director of the Biosecurity Research Institute and associate vice president for research at Kansas State University; and epidemiologist Associate Professor Vernon Lee from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore. Professor Lee is also the head of the Singapore Armed Forces’ Biodefence Centre.
Grace Fu, Second Minister for Environment and Water Resources, said: “The panel will review the latest scientific progress underlying these new modalities and evaluate the safety of using these new methods.
“Public health and safety are our paramount concern. We are here to make sure that the public’s hygiene and health are maintained. We will only consider conducting such trials locally if we are convinced that the methods proposed are safe and effective.”
Ms Fu was speaking at the launch of the “Do the Mozzie Wipeout” Campaign 2014 on Sunday.
Apart from residents, this year’s campaign reaches out to more segments of the community, including outbound travellers and foreign workers.
They will be given educational materials to help them stay vigilant and take steps to prevent the disease.