PUTRAJAYA: The country has recorded its highest number of chikungunya viral fever cases, so far in a year.
Health Ministry disease control director Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman said fewer than 100 Malaysians tested positive for the illness last year but up to yesterday morning, 136 people tested positive from the 631 cases detected at 20 localities in Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan and Perak.
Only 15 patients were warded for fever and severe joint pain while the majority received outpatient treatment.
“It is unusually high. It is because the aedes mosquito breeding index is high and it is making transmission easier,” he said yesterday.
Both chikungunya and dengue are spread by aedes mosquitoes.
He said monitoring was continuously being carried out especially in areas where dengue fever was reported.
“We also are double checking in dengue hotspots for both sicknesses,” he said.
“We are, however, more concerned about dengue cases being on the rise.”
He said more programmes to get rid of mosquitoes by fogging and destroying breeding areas through gotong-royong by the public would be carried out.
Dr Hasan also urged the public to go to health clinics or hospitals to be checked by doctors for chikungunya fever if they showed symptoms such as fever, joint pains and rashes.
In a statement read out by Dr Hasan during a press conference, ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the majority of cases were detected through house-to-house checks by ministry officers.
No new cases were reported from 17 of the 20 localities but the remaining three, which were newly detected areas would be monitored for the next two weeks, he said.
The three areas are Kg Bukit Bendar, Johor with eight cases, Sungkai, Perak with 20 cases and Kg Rasau and its surrounding areas in Perak with 90 cases.
Dr Ismail said besides active detection, fogging and “larviciding” had been carried out.
“Active health education has also been carried out through discussions, health advice and brochure distribution.
“The majority of cases are self-limiting and chikungunya does not cause bleeding or death,” he said.
He added that those who had been infected acquired life-long immunity from the disease.
Further information can be obtained from the ministry’s website, www.moh.gov.my or call 03-88810600/0700 during office hours.