Malaysian are pretty much aware of dengue cases. It has been recently reported that the dengue cases are increasing and predicted to spike this year, with a case count that could surpass last year’s 66,000 cases (which was almost 151% higher than in 2021).
According to our Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, he said the number of cases is expected to increase significantly this year.
“Based on national data, the dengue trend is observed to follow a cyclical pattern with a dengue epidemic being reported every four to five years,” Noor Hisham Abdullah said. Dengue epidemics were observed in 2014 and 2019, with an average of 2,300 cases per week and 2,500 cases per week reported, respectively.
“Dengue is rising as part of its cyclical trend, and it is anticipated to peak in 2023,” he said noting that there was an increase of 150.7% in dengue cases between 2021 and 2022 and a 180% jump in deaths during that period.
Malaysia reported 66,102 dengue cases and 56 deaths in 2022 compared with 26,365 cases and 20 deaths in 2021. In 2022, Malaysia reported 66,102 dengue cases and 56 deaths while in 2021 was recorded 26,365 cases and 20 deaths.
Furthermore, other countries in the region are also reporting an increase in dengue cases this year.
“The spiking number of dengue cases is partly contributed to by the change in the dominant circulating dengue serotype or the ‘serotype shift’, which is a well-known reason for the occurrence of the dengue surge,” he explained.
The “serotype” refers to a distinct variation within a species of virus.
States like Selangor and Sabah were reporting a drastic increase in dengue cases late last year, as were countries in the region such as Vietnam and Laos.
As per observations, the lack of community immunity to the newly dominant circulating serotype causes dengue infections to typically rise four to six months after a serotype shift.
“From the ministry’s surveillance monitoring, there was a shift of circulating dengue virus serotype from DEN 3 to DEN 4 since June 2021. Since then, the DEN 4 serotype has been the dominant circulating virus serotype in the environment,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
Other issues that contributed to the drastic rise were littering and poor environmental cleanliness, especially with containers, which are ideal for Aedes mosquito breeding grounds. Climatic change is another important factor, especially with alternating rain and hot seasons.
“During the rainy season, man-made containers or natural places, for example, the leaves of plants that retain water, create potential places for the Aedes mosquito to breed. On the other hand, during the hot season, Aedes mosquitoes become more active and bite more humans, thus increasing the spread of the dengue virus,” he highlighted.
Dr Noor Hisham said as more dengue cases were anticipated this year, the ministry expected commitment and cooperation from the community, local authorities, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and local volunteers in managing potential mosquito breeding places, especially in residential areas and public facilities.
With that being reported, Dr Noor Hisham urged the public to adopt preventive practices, such as spending time to search and destroy any potential mosquito breeding spots inside and outside of their premises, carrying out cleaning activities regularly to keep the environment free from mosquitoes, and using mosquito repellent when outdoors or aerosol or mosquito netting to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
He also advised that larvicide be added to water retention containers that could not be emptied regularly. Also, he encouraged those who have a fever to get help right away at the nearest health facility.
These are the Dengue SYMPTOMS and PREVENTION that you should take note of.