Maintaining a Clean Environment Essential Against Dengue

art-218-01-17062020Eliminating stagnant water can help prevent mosquitoes from breeding

As Malaysia continues to fight against the spread of COVID-19, it is also preparing to confront a second wave of dengue fever cases.

According to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba in conjunction with Asean Dengue Day on 15 June 2020, Malaysia recorded 50,511 dengue cases and 88 fatalities from 1 January to 13 June this year.

Given that an effective vaccine and a curative treatment for dengue are yet to be made available, measures to control and prevent the disease from spreading are crucial to keep people healthy.

One of the most common measures focuses on managing the environment, especially within the proximity of human settlements. Urban areas, in particular, are witnessing rapid growth in larval habitats.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), this is because the Aedes aegypti mosquito – the main vector that spreads viruses that cause dengue – breeds “primarily in artificial water containers (where water is stagnant), and the mosquito’s life cycle is closely associated with human activities.”

Hence, health and local authorities frequently advise the public to keep their surroundings clean to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Here, the WHO recommends:

  • Preventing mosquitoes from accessing egg-laying habitats by environmental management and modification;
  • Disposing of solid waste properly and removing artificial man-made habitats that can hold water;
  • Covering, emptying and cleaning of domestic water storage containers on a weekly basis;
  • Applying appropriate insecticides to water storage outdoor containers.

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