Saturday, November 09, 2013

'Rise in dengue cases is global'

 New Straits Times

THE Health Ministry yesterday revealed that Malaysians know how dengue fever spread but failed to prevent the spread of the disease in daily life.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, however, said the rise in dengue cases in the country was a global phenomenon.
"We are also affected by this, which saw a rise of about 10,000 cases this year compared with last year's figures," he told the Dewan Rakyat, in reply to a supplementary question from Sim Tong Him (DAP-Kota Melaka), who asked for the ministry's explanation on the increasing number of people affected by dengue.
Dr Subramaniam said the rainy season was a contributing factor.
"We are not the only ones affected. Even Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand have been affected by the growing number of cases."
He said Malaysia recorded 29,354 cases as of Nov 2 compared with 17,800 cases recorded for the whole of last year, with Selangor recording the highest number of cases at 15,000.
"Right now, the ministry's aim is to reduce mosquito-breeding areas. Thus, cooperation from all agencies is important."
He said the attitude of the public needed to be changed to create a mosquito-free environment and to reduce dengue cases and deaths.
"People cannot say it is the government's job to contain the virus," he said, adding that everyone had to play their part.
Answering an original question earlier on the latest status of using genetically-modified Aedes mosquitoes to reduce the dengue epidemic, Dr Subramaniam said the government was still considering releasing the mosquitoes.
'The medical research institute is still solving technical issues on the collaboration with Oxitec, the company providing these mosquitoes."
He said since 2006, the project has cost RM3.1 million for its three phases (colonisation and bionomic research; mating genetic mosquitoes and research on marked mosquitoes that are released and recaptured).
Dr Subramaniam said research on released mosquitoes were conducted in Bentong, Pahang, to identify the travel capability and lifespan of mosquitoes.
"The next phase of the research, on reducing dengue in four identified hot spots, will cost RM100 million for three years."

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