The number of dengue fever cases reported in Malaysia in 2022 has seen an increase of 150.7 per cent to a total of 66,102, up from only 26,365 cases the year prior.
Local newspaper New Straits Times recently reported data released by Malaysian Health Director-General, Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Figures show the cumulative number of deaths due to dengue complications reported in 2022 was 56 compared to 20 in 2021 – an increase of 180 per cent.
“The increase in the number of cases and death due to dengue should be given serious attention by all parties. Combating dengue is everyone’s responsibility,” stated Dr. Noor Hisham.
The Director-General said preventive measures, beyond mosquito repellents, are necessary to ensure that dengue fever incidents can be prevented.
One precipitating factor may be identified in the reopening of all sectors following the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed for a larger spread of the dengue virus as people movements became more frequent.
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Other factors, according to Dr. Noor Hisham, were the change in the serotype of dengue to DEN 4in most states as well as inappropriate disposal of domestic waste.
“Weather, temperature and flood disasters can also affect the development of mosquito and larvae which cause the population of Aedes to increase and subsequently spread the dengue virus,” he concluded.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on healthcare system worldwide, impacting the fight against communicable diseases as well.
Across Commonwealth countries in particular, disruptions brought by the pandemic led to an increase in malaria incidence and mortality rate.
The Commonwealth is reportedly falling behind its commitment to halve malaria cases by 2023 as mortality rates hit a peak, revealed the annual Commonwealth Malaria Report 2022.