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Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Dengue Fever::The Rising Tide



It looks like we are in for more dengue cases to come, it is another rising tide. It may not have reached epidemic proportions but if uncontrolled it would be heading in that direction. To check out on the present situation and maybe a clearer picture, clicked on the links below ::

1. Dewan Rakyat Sets Aside One Hour To Debate Motion On Dengue Fever :: 18th Jan
The Special Dewan Rakyat session Tuesday set aside one hour to debate a motion on dengue fever as the aedes mosquito spread fever has reached a serious magnitude, with more than 1,000 people being diagnosed with the ailment in a week.
The motion moved by Dr Raman Ismail (BN-Gombak) was accepted for debate by Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Lim Si Cheng as it fulfilled the three criteria -- a specific issue, urgent and of public interest -- under Article 18.1 of the House Standing Orders....
Dr Raman, in tabling the motion, said dengue fever reported to have attained a serious proportion in several states, especially in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Pahang, had created a critical situation, threatening the lives of Malaysians, particularly those residing in epidemic areas....

2. Action Against Errant Local Authorities :: 18th Jan
The Health Ministry has the power to take action against local authorities which fail to ensure that the areas under their jurisdiction are free from dengue.
However, issuing compound fines was not the solution, said Health Ministry's Disease Control Division Director Dr Ramlee Rahmat Tuesday....
"Under the law, the ministry can take action against anyone and not necessarily individuals," he said and noted that the ministry had issued compound fines on schools and hospitals before.

3. KL Hospital Prepares For Upsurge In Dengue Cases :: 18th Jan
Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) is preparing its facilities and medical staff to deal with the expected rise in dengue cases here and in Selangor in the next two weeks, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said...
There are currently 150 dengue cases in HKL, accounting for nearly eight per cent of the 1,700 patients in the hospital.
"This is definitely an increase compared to the average of 30 cases several weeks ago," he said.

4. Dengue Cases In Johor Up 37 Per Cent In First Week :: 18th Jan
Dengue cases in Johor in the first week of the year showed a 37 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, state Health Department (Public Health) Deputy Director Dr Daud Abdul Rahim said Tuesday.
During the first seven days, 71 cases of dengue fever and three cases of haemorrhagic dengue fever which did not lead to death were reported against 22 cases of dengue fever and six haemorrhagic dengue fever cases that were not fatal in the corresponding period last year, he said....
Last year 3,056 dengue cases were reported in Johor compared to 3,211 cases in 2003, marking a 4.8 per cent decrease.

5. JB City Council Opens Control Centre To Check Dengue Spread :: 19th Jan
The Johor Baharu City Council (MBJB) will open a vector-borne disease control centre and enforce Section 18(1) of the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Act 1988 to check the spread of dengue fever in areas under its jurisdiction.
Johor Baharu Mayor Datuk Wahid Dahlan said 45 dengue cases were reported in the first two weeks of this year or 23 cases a week compared to an average of 11 cases a week last year.
"This is very worrying," he told a press conference here Wednesday.


Obviously this time around, Dengue has got the MOH and gomen worried. Worried enough for it to be given an hour of debate time in Parliament. The motion was moved not by the opposition but by a gomen backbencher.
The lackadaisical attitudes of the MOH, local health authorities, local council and people have contributed to this dengue menace. People are not too keen to have their houses sprayed near dinner time, i know of some who would lock up their houses and go somewhere else when they know that the fogging teams are coming. Such behaviour will not help in dealing with dengue. The MOH needs to go around and educate the people more. What Dr Daud said is very true :: "This is caused by the attitude of residents who do not care about the condition of places that are potential aedes breeding grounds which include their homes and surrounding areas."
The MOH's attitude also does not help much. It tells us that it has the power to take action against local authorities which fail to ensure that the areas under their jurisdiction are free from dengue. And in the next breath, says "issuing compound fines was not the solution." Why so friend-friend with the local authorities? Just make one as an example and the rest will toe the line. All for the good of the nation. The time for cooperation and not taking action is over. No more play-play, it is time to bring on the 'sledgehammer'. The MOH should show that it means business when lives are in danger. The other local authorities should follow MBJB's example and really get serious to ensure that the Dengue situation does not worsen.
Daunting times lie ahead as the chinese new year will be upon us soon. During this festive season there will be plenty of 'short term migration', some of those infected will travel back to infect others while others will be travelling to the dengue areas to get infected and eventually take them home after the festivities. So will there be an "outbreak" after the festivities? Just thinking aloud.



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