Friday, August 14

Dengue cases expected to rise with onset of El-Nino

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KOTA KINABALU: Dengue cases in the state and country are expected to rise with the onslaught of the El-Nino weather phenomenon.

This is because hot temperatures and dry weather accelerate the development of the Aedes mosquito from egg to an adult, state Health Department director Dr Christina Rundi said.

Dr Christina, in a statement yesterday, disclosed that under the hot and dry weather brought about by El-Nino, the cycle of a mosquito from egg to adult takes less that seven days.

“This will result in an increase in mosquito population,” she warned.

Therefore, it is imperative that the public do not store water during the El-Nino phenomenon which is said will last until March this year, as they could be creating breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquitos, she said.

Dr Christina added that improper management and illegal dumping of rubbish could also contribute to the increase in mosquito population and number of dengue cases.

“The state Health Department would like to advise the public to carry out ‘search and destroy’activities in their compounds once a week. This is where they should spend at least 10 minutes a week to find and destroy mosquito breeding grounds.

“They should also ensure that all filled water containers be closed tightly and that they put on insect repellent as well as wear long sleeved attire when outside their houses, especially early in the morning and in the evenings.

“We also urge them not to throw rubbish indiscriminately,”Dr Christina said.

She urged any individuals experiencing symptoms such as fever, aching body, aching joints, nausea and headache to immediately seek treatment at the nearest clinic. This is because early treatment can help prevent complications brought about by dengue, including fatality, she said.

Meanwhile, Dr Christina disclosed that 110 dengue fever cases were registered since January 9 this year, with Sandakan having the highest number at 38. Tawau recorded 16 cases while the state capital had 15 cases.

Dengue outbreaks were recorded in 25 localities, namely, Sandakan (15), Kota Kinabalu (three), Lahad Datu (three), Penampang (two) and one each in Tenom and Tawau during the same period. She also said that the Health Department had recorded a 100 per cent increase in the number of dengue fever cases in 2015 compared to 2014, she added.

As a preventive measure, 343,749 premises were checked in 2015 and of the total, 3,865 were found to have aedes breeding ground. Most of these premises were residential buildings (1,760/45.5 per cent) followed by empty lots (683/17.6 per cent).