KUCHING: The state has recorded six cases of death due to dengue fever up to April 6 this year and this has caused some form of uneasiness for State Disaster Relief Committee chairman Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan.
Expressing his worry in a press conference held at his office at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here, Dr Chan who is Deputy Chief Minister said the state also recorded the same number of death cases throughout the 2009.
“The situation of dengue is worrying. Up to this year, we already have six deaths reported while in 2009, we also have six death cases. Although now is only April, we already have six deaths… it is quite serious,” he said.
The first reported death case this year was in Samarahan (Jan 12) while the last death was reported in Betong (Mar 23).
Out of the six cases, two were in Kuching while Samarahan, Serian, Miri and Betong reported one death case each respectively.
Nevertheless, Dr Chan also reported some good news.
He pointed out that the number of reported dengue cases in the state had showed a decrease trend.
“The trend is coming down. The peak was in the 46th week of last year. It is now coming down to normal level with an average 50 reported cases per week.
“This is a good news. But, whatever it is, we have to be very cautious, we must keep it at the minimum,” he said, adding that during the peak of dengue outbreak, between 250 to 300 cases of dengue were reported weekly.
On the reason led to the six death cases, Dr Chan explained that it could be related to late diagnosis that might be delayed by the patients themselves.
“If patients come in late (for treatment), we couldn’t do much. People have to understand that dengue is caused by virus and no antibiotic or anti-viral can kill the virus effectively like killing bacteria.
“The situation would be worse if the patients have other underlying diseases. So, if anyone has dengue-like symptom, please come to hospitals and clinics as soon as possible. Dengue is a preventable disease,” he stressed.
He pointed out that it is possible to let Sarawak free of dengue, however, it would require full cooperation from the people themselves.
He therefore urged the people to maintain a clean living environment and make it into a habit.
“For instance, do not use containers to contain water around. It has to be in our way of live. It can’t be two weeks after the campaign then you forget about it and start throwing coconut shells or containers around,” he said.
At the same time, the authorities would continue to play an active role in educating the people on the danger of dengue as well as carrying out campaign more intensively, he said.
Also present at the press conference were State Health Director Dr Zulkifli Jantan and State Health Deputy Director (Public Health) Dr Jamilah Hashim.