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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Vacant houses can be broken into to fog against dengue

Vacant houses suspected of being mosquito breeding grounds will be broken into by local authorities for fogging purposes.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said local authorities had such right under the Vector Control Act if house owners failed to react to notices served to them within 14 days.

“We are also considering shortening the notification from 14 days to three to five days as part of the effort by the Government to tackle this problem,” he told a press conference here on Wednesday.

He said it was the ministry’s aim to reduce dengue cases throughout the country by 10,000 cases this year and the number of deaths caused by such cases from 0.22% to 0.2%.

Until March 7 this year, he said, the number of dengue cases was 10,916 cases with 31 deaths, which was 35% higher than the same period last year.

“A total of 52% cases and 71% deaths reported happened in Selangor while cases in Penang, Perak and Kedah have also increased,” he said.

Last year, there were 7,134 cases with 12 deaths. Liow said 53% of the death could be saved if patients were treated early.

“All these cases could be avoided if patients received treatment as soon as they showed symptoms of such disease,” he said.

He said the ministry would also conduct fogging work in a wider area of 400 metre radius, compared to the previous 200 metre radius in epidemic area.

“Local authorities must also ensure that 85% of the epidemic area is under control within two weeks.

“We will also cut the response time for fogging to 24 to 48 hours once a dengue case is reported to control the spreading of such cases,” he said.

He said 1,000 additional staff would be employed to tackle the problem and operation centres would also be set up in all states throughout the country to monitor such epidemic.

Liow said the ministry had issued 18,469 compounds last year and 59,518 compounds this year to owners who failed to ensure that their premises were clean and mosquito free.


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