1998 - Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever in Malaysia
15 April 1998
Disease Outbreak Reported
Malaysia recorded 19,544 dengue cases in 1997, 37.4% higher than the number reported in 1996 and the highest recorded since the disease was made notifiable in the country in 1973. Of the 19,544 cases, 806 were dengue haemorrhagic fever with 50 deaths. Cases were reported throughout the year but peaked in July. Although all the states in the country were affected, most cases were reported in urban areas with high population density.
Of the 5,433 specimens submitted to the WHO Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus Reference and Research in Kuala Lumpur, for laboratory confirmation 56.5% were positive serologically. The male:female ratio was 1.28:1 and the 21-25 years age group was the most affected. Of the 100 virus strains isolated, 64 were dengue 1, 33 were dengue 2 and 3 were dengue 3.
The WHO Centre is intensifying its surveillance in 1998 since several factors may affect disease patterns. The prolonged drought caused by El Nino may affect vector density and the economic downturn has caused a reduction in massive construction which previously was associated with dengue outbreaks. Hopefully, the reduction in the health budget will not adversely affect the dengue situation.
Dengue endemic countries in South-East Asia which share problems similar to those of Malaysia are advised to monitor the situation closely and submit country data to the WHO Regional Offices in Manila and New Delhi on a regular basis.
Based on a report from the WHO Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus Reference and Research, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Centre offers to provide its 1997 Annual Report to those interested and to collaborate in dengue surveillance affected by adverse weather patterns and economic factors.