Dengue Fever Has Killed 75 in Malaysia So Far

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 2 2007 2:47 PM

Dengue fever has killed 75 people in Malaysia so far this year, local media reported Saturday, with a spike in the mosquito-bourne disease blamed on lingering hot, wet weather.

The situation was "under control," the New Straits Times said quoting a health ministry statement, but people were urged clear any stagnant water from around their homes to stamp out Aedes mosquito breeding grounds.

Malaysia is among many Southeast Asian countries which have seen dengue cases rise this year, leading to warnings of a possible epidemic.

In the first four months of 2007, 44 people died of dengue in Malaysia, while 16,214 cases were reported. This is double the same period the previous year, when 21 people died out of 10,244 cases.

In squeaky-clean Singapore, cases of dengue so far this year have doubled to 3,600 from the previous year, while in Cambodia dengue deaths have already eclipsed fatalities in the whole of 2006.

The World Health Organisation believes 2007 could be on a par with 1998, when nearly 1,500 people died in Asia of dengue fever.

The illness is endemic to Malaysia, which has seen cases surge 16 percent every year since 2003. Fatalities from dengue in Malaysia reached record levels in 2004, when 102 people died.