We call on the Health Minister to let us know the true situation of dengue
infection in this country, so that we can all cooperate to take effective
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw
There are four strains of dengue. From time to time, each strain
becomes dominant. Now, Strain 1 (or is it 3?) takes centre stage, infecting
people who have not had enough immunity against this strain. Hence, the
number of cases increases all over Southeast Asia.
Although the media report the number of deaths due to dengue in the whole of
2002 as 26, we donít know the actual figure. If we take the number of dengue
cases recorded as 30,218 for the country last year, then we find that the
figure speaks very loudly. For example, Selangor alone has 9,385 with 17
deaths. The Menteri Besar says that there is 62% increase in the number of
cases compared with last year. If this is not an epidemic, what is it?
We doní t want to cause an alarm because this may affect many things such as
tourism. So, let us say that it is more than an endemic, that is, occurring
in some places in this country throughout the year.
If we only call it more than an outbreak and more than an endemic, would it
help in our efforts to control the disease? True, this definition may save
the face of the Health Minister. But, it does not necessarily help to
control the situation.
As Aedes mosquitoes spread dengue, Datuk Chua Jui Meng has a point when he
asks everyone to ensure that his or her backyard is not a mosquito-breeding
ground. Many construction sites, factories and parks breed Aedes.
Female mosquitoes feed on human and animal blood so that they can procreate.
In an ideal condition, a female Aedes may breed up to one million
off-springs in five weeks. Half a million will be females that carry the
Once a person has dengue, we hope that he or she does not bleed or
haemorrhage. Meanwhile, we expect the Health Minister to announce the actual
figures on dengue endemic plus situation and the effective measures.
Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Vice-Chairman and MP for Kepong