Saturday, February 29

Wong: 162 pct increase in dengue cases this year

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KUCHING: The state recorded 820 dengue cases in the first quarter of this year, a 162 per cent increase from 313 cases in the same period of January to March last year.

Local Government and Community Development Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said the average number of weekly reported cases so far this year is 63, which is double the average number for the disease in Sarawak.

He said to combat the hike of dengue cases in the state, 93,346 premises were inspected, out of which 63,280 were fogged as of March this year.

A total of 69 compounds amounting to RM34,500 were collected and 109 warning notices issued to house owners found breeding the Aedes mosquitoes.

“The intensive campaign to control dengue cases is ongoing. Its activities include intensifying disease surveillance, search-and-destroy operation, fogging with insecticide, mosquito larviciding, ‘Ops Gempur’, gotong-royong and distribution of health education materials as outlined in the National Dengue Strategic Plan,” Wong said in his winding-up speech at the DUN sitting yesterday.

Over the past few years, the state has experienced an increase in number of cases of infectious and communicable diseases including Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

In 2014, there were 9,481 cases of HFMD from 8,569 the previous year. Most of the cases occurred in densely populated urban areas such as Kuching, Sibu and Miri. Last year 507 patients were hospitalised – the majority for dehydration. One death was reported.

“In the first quarter of 2015 (January to March), there was a marked rise with 5,574 cases reported. This is expected following the three-year peak cycles of HFMD,” continued Wong.

To curb its spread, the state Health Department carried out public health control measures including daily HFMD case surveillance at clinics and hospitals, early diagnosis with laboratory support, strengthening laboratory surveillance system, public announcement, screening at pre-schools and kindergartens, as well as promoting hygiene and handwashing.

Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS will continue to challenge the Health Department, Wong said. Tuberculosis reported 2,973 cases while HIV/AIDS, 235 new cases last year.