Monday, April 21, 2008

Selangor declares war on dengue - The Star

April 21, 2008 by Lim Chia Ying

DENGUE fever can spread like wildfire if not controlled and the rainy season has not helped the situation in Selangor either, prompting the state government to declare war against the menace.

State health, estate workers, poverty and caring government committee chairman Dr Xavier Jayakumar asserted that the present graph on the number of dengue cases reported each week was quite stable.

“We have somehow managed to keep it at a certain figure. However, the number of cases is still not at a satisfactory low, especially in densely-populated areas like Gombak, Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam and Klang and we are working to reduce the number,” Dr Xavier said.

Long-term plans: Lee feels that anti-dengue operations should not be a knee-jerk reaction.
He also said the state government was increasing monitoring at various areas through local authorities and with the help of state health officers.

“We have people going around to check areas and compounds where mosquitoes could breed. Dedicated wards to admit infected patients are also provided at government hospitals.

“The many abandoned projects in the state have also contributed to high incidences of dengue,” he explained.

Dr Xavier said the state and federal health departments worked closely and he was updated on the number of cases each week through the local councils.

Local authorities are also doing their bit to help raise awareness among the public while some residents also play their part by doing their own clean-ups.

On Saturday, the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) went on its second week of anti-dengue operations as part of the 10-minute campaign mooted by Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh.

Yeoh has urged all Subang Jaya and USJ residents to spend 10 minutes a week to check their compounds and discard all bottles, cans, or old tyres. These items will then be collected by MPSJ officers every Saturday afternoon.

MPSJ health director Dr Abdul Rahim Ahmad said cases in Subang Jaya had shown a decline although he could not determine if the reduced statistics were due to increased public awareness or the fogging rounds that the council had been carrying out.

Preventive step: MPSJ's Hair Nizam placing Abate in a drain during the campaign.

“Being the enforcement agency responsible, we also go house-to-house to carry out surveys and determine the Aedes Index and Bruteau Index.

“Immediate measures like depositing Abate and fogging will be taken if the Aedes Index increases by 2.5% or if the Bruteau Index increases by more than 5%.

“It is important for residents to cooperate with us by opening windows when we are fogging, overturning pots and containers that contain water and not littering,” Dr Abdul Rahim said.

Last year, the council once had 159 reported cases in a week – the highest recorded throughout the state and country. This year, however, the highest number of cases reported a week is only 49.

Dr Abdul Rahim said while the rate was not alarming, there should still be cause for concern and people should take precautions.

Dr Abdul Rahim said the Aedes mosquito lived in clean, stagnant water and in places that were shady.

“We have no frontline defence because mosquitoes are everywhere. It’s total warfare and everyone must play their role,” he said.

“Residents have complained to me that fogging alone is not enough and this is why all must play their part.

Awareness: Yeoh (in pink) speaking to residents during the campaign.

“People must also get rid off the ‘it will not happen to me’ mindset, because dengue could affect anyone,” Yeoh added.

USJ Residents Association vice-president Melvin Lee said fighting dengue should be a long-term effort and not just a knee-jerk reaction.

“Dengue is a known problem, therefore new strategies and plans should be devised to educate the people and raise awareness.

“The council, as a responsible authority, should tackle the problem, because lives are at stake. It should try to get everyone involved and to reach out to more people.

“I’m not sure if distributing flyers alone is going to work as people may not even read them,” Lee said.

He also said the council had not put up many banners to publicise the anti-dengue operation.

“Dengue broke out in my USJ 5 neighbourhood some years ago but a few residents took the lead by talking to other residents.

“People responded to us positively and in the end, we won the battle,” Lee added.

Yeoh said she would rope in volunteers soon to go to each apartment unit and show residents the little things they could do to make their homes dengue-free.

Dr Abdul Rahim said in the past, banners had been given to community leaders to be put up in their neighbourhoods but the people tasked with doing so had failed to carry out their duties.

“We actually made announcements to residents in the areas we visited today,” he said, adding that he was also looking at new approaches to reach out to foreigners.

He said the council was not denying its responsibilities and he was not giving up the fight.

“This is our commitment to the people,” he said.

“We also will not hesitate to issue compounds to those found guilty of breeding mosquitoes, “ he said.


– Throw unused items into the bin or bury them.
– Check and clean roof gutters so that it is not clogged with rubbish and leaves.
– Change the water and clean flowerpots or bathtubs every week.
– Ensure water containers are closed tightly to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
– Placing Abate according to the right measurements into tanks or places that hold water.
– Rear fish that eat larvae in huge tanks, like guppies.
(Courtesy of MPSJ’s dengue leaflet)


Total: 4389 reported cases from Jan 1, 2008, to date
MBSA: 855 reported cases
MPK: 676 reported cases
MPKj: 595 reported cases
MPSJ: 531 reported cases
MBPJ: 371 reported cases
MPS: 276 reported cases
MPAJ: 181 reported cases
Hulu Selangor District: 180 reported cases
Klang District: 178 reported cases
Gombak: 148 reported cases
Kuala Selangor: 99 reported cases
Sabak Bernam: 84 reported cases
Kuala Langat: 78 reported cases Sepang: 69 reported cases
Hulu Langat: 68 reported cases

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