GEORGE TOWN, Nov 19 — Members of the public, especially those living in areas at risk of flooding, have been advised to be vigilant by keeping the environment clean, to avoid the spread of dengue fever.

Health Minister, Dr Zaliha Mustafa, said that this follows the Ministry of Health (MOH) detecting an upward trend of cases in six states.

“The Northeast Monsoon, which brings heavy rains, causes stagnant water areas and so on, so the dengue disease will increase.

“There are states with an upward trend of dengue fever cases, such as Selangor, Penang, Perak, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak; however the situation is still under control,” she said to reporters, after officiating the state-level MADANI Afiat and the Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat (ANMS) tour, at Sekolah Menengah (SMK) Bukit Gambir, here, today.

Dr Zaliha said that looking after the environment, especially at home, is important so that cases of dengue fever do not spread, and advised those who have symptoms to immediately seek treatment at a nearby health facility.

“We are concerned that the number of cases will increase if no preventive measures are taken, and the most worrying is if there is a death, because dengue fever is a disease which can cause death.

“The most important thing is to eliminate the (Aedes mosquito) breeding grounds,” she said.

Earlier, Health director-general, Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan, said that the cumulative number of dengue fever cases reported in the 44th Epidemiological Week (ME44), from Oct 29 to Nov 4, had increased by 96.9 per cent to 100,936 cases, compared with 51,262 cases reported for the same period last year.

Meanwhile, when asked about the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, Dr Zaliha assured that it will be tabled before the Parliament session ends at the end of this month.

However, she declined to respond, when asked about the statement issued by the Attorney-General’s Chambers yesterday, stating that it has been consistent in its legal opinion since 2022 that the provisions with regard to the ‘generational end game’ or GEG provided in the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill, can be challenged in court.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, Dr Zaliha said that the ministry is concerned over the increase in hypertension, or high blood pressure, and diabetes cases, due to the failure to do early screening.

Dr Zaliha said that early screening is crucial, as both are chronic diseases which can result in complications from damage to vital organs such as the kidneys, eyes and heart, if left untreated.

“Of late, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an upward trend of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. More worrying is that 50 per cent of people with hypertension and diabetes do not realise they have the disease, as they do not perform screening at the initial stage.

“Various initiatives introduced by the government include providing facilities and amenities for free to the people, and we just want them to come so that the disease can be detected early,” 

A total of 2,701 people, aged 18 and above, were screened during the MADANI Afiat and ANMS in Selangor, Kedah, Terengganu, Johor, Perak and Melaka.

The house-to-house screening carried out detected 978 individuals suffering from hypertension, while another 681 had diabetes.


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