80pc jump in dengue cases nationwide this year, says health minister

A pest control worker sprays insecticide to help control the spread of dengue fever carried by mosquitoes in Kuala Lumpur.  — Reuters pic
A pest control worker sprays insecticide to help control the spread of dengue fever carried by mosquitoes in Kuala Lumpur. — Reuters pic

BUTTERWORTH, Sept 15 — The number of dengue cases in the country this year increased drastically by 81.8 per cent compared to last year, with 93,344 cases recorded from January until September 7, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said.

This is an increase of 42,007 cases over the same period last year when there were 51,337 cases, he said. 

He added that to date, 137 deaths have been reported compared to only 81 during the same period last year, showing a 69.1-increase of 56 deaths.

“Monitoring by the ministry found that the number of incidence and deaths due to dengue fever shows a marked increase this year,” Dzulkefly said, adding that a similar trend is seen in the neighbouring countries.

He was speaking to reporters after launching a community programme organised by the Bagan parliamentary constituency office here today. Also present at the event was Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

On the current haze situation, Dzulkefly said there has been no recorded extraordinary increase in the number of haze-related illnesses.

He said the ministry was monitoring diseases which could result from exposure to the haze, such as asthma, eye and respiratory infections.

“So far, the data shows that there has been no spike in the number of patients with illnesses caused by the haze,” he said.

Asked about the case of a man, believed to be a doctor, who allegedly attacked his ex-wife and father-in-law which went viral on the social media, Dzulkefly said it was being investigated.

Earlier, in his speech at the event, Dzulkefly said the ministry focused on emphasising to the public information about non-communicable disease (NCD) and dengue.

“In Malaysia, the incidence of NCDs is still increasing, despite health promotions and public education. According to the 2015 National Health and Mobility Survey, one in every two adult Malaysians are obese, one in three have hypertension and one in five are diabetic,” he said. 

He added that 50 per cent of diabetes and hypertension cases were undiagnosed with patients not knowing they had these conditions, or seeking treatment, while continuing with the same unhealthy lifestyle.

“As a result, their condition will worsen, leading to complications like kidney problems, blindness and increased risk of heart attack,” Dzulkefly said. — Bernama

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