Malaysia is suffering the most serious outbreak of dengue hemorrhagic fever in its history. Since?
Malaysia is suffering the most serious outbreak of dengue hemorrhagic fever in its history. Since the beginning of this year, there have been 1,124 cases of the disease reported, including 71 deaths. Last year there were 969 cases and 54 deaths during the whole twelve month period.
The epidemic has spread to all eleven west Malaysian states, and according to the Malaysian Health Services Director General, Tan Sri Dr. Abdul Majid Ismail, it may get worse in the next few months.
Dengue is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, and children under 10 years of age are particularly susceptible to it. The disease is recognisable by the sudden onset of fever and aching muscles, nausea, vomitting and internal bleeding. Unlike cholera or malaria, the disease is difficult to control because there is no known preventive medicine or vaccine for it. Treatment can only be carried out after a person has contracted it.
The Aedes Mosquito has a life cycle of up to seven moths. It lives close to man and tends to breed prolifically in overcrowded areas where sanitation is poor.
To fight the epidemic, the Malaysian Government has warned the public to keep surroundings clean, or else face a fine of 1,000 ringgits (175 pounds sterling), or three months in jail or both.
The Government has also revived the Malaria Eradication Act of 1971, which empowers health officers to enter and inspect homes to look for mosquito breeding grounds. The Health Ministry has also intensified anti-mosquito "fogging" operations in slum are???.
At the Institute for Medical Research, a team of experts is experimenting with different ways of wiping out the Aedes mosquito. According to the I.M.R. Director, Dr. R. Baghwan Singh, the experiments are aimed at breaking the life cycle of the mosquito. If they can do that they could probably eradicate them form the country.