Dengue cases in the state are on the rise with no sign of abating, particularly in Sibu.
For the first six months of this year, 2,322 cases with 11 fatalities were recorded compared to seven deaths from 4,564 cases for the whole of last year.
Minister of Environment and Public Health Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said Sibu recorded the most deaths with five fatalities, followed by two in Kuching and one each in Betong, Miri, Serian and Samarahan.
The high number of fatalities, particularly in Sibu, prompted the government to act fast. A meeting has been called for government departments and agencies scheduled for next Monday in Sibu.
Wong said at a press conference yesterday that most of the cases in Sibu were in ‘Zone 7’, a low-lying and water-logged area with many old houses.
According to him, there were about 2,012 old houses in the area; some abandoned, some rented out. He felt that among the factors that contributed to the high number of cases in the area was the negative attitude of the residents, who dumped their rubbish indiscriminately.
“To really contain the spread of dengue, we call on the public to give their co-operation,” Wong, who is also Second Finance Minister said.
He pointed out that everyone should play their role to help prevent the disease from spreading, reminding that everybody was susceptible to dengue.
The minister was earlier briefed by the Health Department on dengue cases in the state and among those present was Assistant Minister of Environment and Public Health Dr Stephen Rundi.
Meanwhile, in a press statement, the Sibu Divisional Health Office (DHO) said 57 of the 483 cases reported in the district in the first 26 weeks of this year were dengue hemorrhagic fever.
This represents a 589 per cent increase compared to the 82 cases reported in the same period last year. The DHO described the sharp increase as a grave concern.
Six deaths from the disease were reported in the period last October and July 3 this year.
Five of the deaths — three women and two men — occurred last month.
All six victims were Iban, with the latest being a 34-year-old woman from Foochow Road who died on June 30.
The first victim was a six-year-old girl from Hardin Road, who died on Oct 10.
The other four who died last month were a 41-year-old woman from Hua Khiew Road (June 2), a 30-year-old woman from Tiong Hua Road (June 8), a 51-year-old man from Nudong Road (June 26) and a man aged 34 from Sungai Salim (June 27).
A DHO officer, who requested anonymity, confirmed that all seven were from the ‘Dengue Triangle’ area, which is also known as Zone 7.
He said the area of about two square km encompassed Brooke Drive, Pedada Road and Ulu Oya Road.
“To be specific, the area covers Brooke Drive (right side) and lanes, Oya Road (right side) and lanes, Hua Kiew Road and lanes, Lai Chee Road, Emplam Road, Mui Huong Road, Tiong Hua Road and lanes, Rambutan Road, Belian Road, Foochow Road and Hardin Road.
“Others are Huo Ping Road, Pedada Road, Mahsuri Road and lanes, Chiew Siik Hiong Road and lanes, Geronggang Road, Nangyang Garden Road and lanes, Merlin Road and lanes, Punai Road, Pigeon Road, Layang-Layang Road and Lajong Road,” he said yesterday.
The officer advised residents in this area, in particular, to take precautionary measures to destroy Aedes mosquito breeding grounds to prevent dengue.
On fogging, the officer said operations were carried out twice daily — before sunset and early morning with a focus on the ‘Dengue Triangle’ area.