Over 3,700 dengue cases recorded in Sarawak up to week 40

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SIBU: A total of 3,703 dengue cases have been reported in the state up till the 40th week of this year.

Minister of Environment and Public Health, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, revealed this yesterday during a meeting in his office with local government officials on dengue alert and status of dengue cases in Sarawak and plan of action.

Sibu recorded the highest cases with 921 followed by Miri with 731, Kuching –  410 cases, Bintulu – 206, Kapit – 144, Serian – 130, Bau – 109, Limbang – 109, Samarahan – 84 and Sri Aman – 84.

“Compared to last year when there were 1,769 cases, the state recorded an increase of 110.4 per cent. From Oct 3 to 10, we recorded 69 new cases,” he said.

The death toll up to the 40th week was 13 compared to seven last year.

Wong said the government would continue to identify other creative and innovative methods to prevent dengue outbreaks.

“Our prime minister said the government has identified the national bio-safety method to combat the disease,” he said.

“A research has been done to release genetically modified mosquitoes. It is hoped that through them, the killer instinct of the species would die,” he said.

He said it is hoped that when the modified male Aedes mated with females in the environment, the killer genes could cause the larvae to die. However, this method is still at the experimental stage and the government is still waiting for the cabinet to approve its implementation.

“It is hoped that this innovation could be used to eliminate Aedes more effectively,” he said.

Nonetheless, Wong pointed out that fighting Aedes was a continuous effort, especially the part where people must get rid of their breeding places.

“We must sustain efforts to combat them and not take things for granted when things are okay,” he said.

With the rainy season approaching, he warned everybody to be very wary of Aedes mosquitoes.

A presentation on dengue outbreaks in the state showed that the increasing number of cases started in week 23, and some divisions in the state recorded new cases every week.

The Ministry of Health found out that 85 per cent of Aedes bred outdoor; mainly in old tyres, plastic containers, and empty tins.

Thus, all local authorities are urged to activate their dengue outbreak committees which should meet once a week.

The new localities under their Communication for Behavioral Impact (Combi) would be increased throughout the state to curb the outbreak.

District Officer Wong See Meng; Secretary of Sibu Municipal Council (SMC), Sibu Resident, Sim Kok Kee, Divisional Health Officer, Dr Mohd Rais Abdullah, Assistant Minister of Environment and Public Health, Dr Stephen Rundi Utom and Assistant Minister of Environment and Public Health in the Chief Minister Office, John Sikie Tayal were also present at the meeting.