Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Call on the Government to set up a Special Cabinet Committee to Combat the Dengue Menace" M.Kula

Clearing: Workers cleaning a drain clogged with rubbish at Tasek to help reduce the risk of dengue.

THERE is growing concern among residents in Ipoh over the increase in dengue fever cases nationwide.

Since January, there have been 22 deaths due to the disease, with about 2,000 cases being recorded each week.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subrmaniam was reported to have said that there have been about 11,880 dengue cases nationwide as of the second week of February and expected the number to increase further.

A check by The Star with residents at several housing areas in the city also found that there have been an increase in Aedes mosquitoes in their neighbourhoods.

Businessman Wong Weng Guan, 62, from Taman Rishah, said he has been having sleepless nights for the past few weeks.

“The mosquitoes are really irritating, and they attack even when you are asleep.

“I have been kept awake for several nights now from the bites and when they buzz around near my ears,” Wong said.

He said even spraying insect repellent only kept the mosquitoes away for a few hours.

Retired nurse Mary Lim, from Menglembu, also said that there has been an increase in mosquitoes at her home.

Lim, in her 70s, said news of the increase in dengue fever has made her alert, ensuring there were no stagnant pools of water in her house.

“My grandchildren are still young and I do not want to expose them to this danger.

“I try my best to keep the house clean,” she added.

Lim also said she lighted mosquito coils in all the bedrooms and kept the doors closed for some time, before going to bed.
“It helps to a certain extent,” she said.

Housewife Jessie Tan, 65, from First Garden said undergrowth and an illegal rubbish site near her home was a concern for the residents there.

Tan said they had complained to the Ipoh City Council and asked them to clear the area that had become a breeding ground for the mosquitoes but that nothing had been done so far.

“I am planning to put up mosquito netting on my windows and doors to prevent the insects from entering the house.

“It is the only way to protect my family as the council is not doing anything to help us,” she said.
“I will also use mosquito coils and insect repellents when needed,” she added.

However, factory supervisor Tung Weng Choon, 53, said the mosquitoes in his neighbourhood in Taman Saikat were not the Aedes species but another species.

“The mosquitoes do not have the black and white stripes on their abdomen and are slightly greenish in colour.

“I have heard of a new strain of dengue fever going around but I am not sure whether this is related,” he said.

The father of three said he was worried that his family would fall sick due to the increase in mosquitoes in the area.

“The undergrowth in front my house is also a concern. I really hope the council will get its workers to clear it soon,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran has called on the Government to set up a special Cabinet committee to combat the dengue menace.

Kulasegaran, who is also national DAP vice-chairman, said as of early this month, the total number of dengue cases had increased by nearly four-fold, compared to the same period in 2013.

“A total of 11,879 cases have been reported nationwide. Also, 22 people have died of dengue fever this year, compared to eight deaths within the same period last year,” he said.

Kulasegaran said the Government should take more pro-active measures to ensure that more people do not become victims of dengue.

“Malaysians want the Government’s assurance that effective measures will be taken to control the disease and prevent fatalities,” he added.

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