Dengue cases on rise in Malaysia

There has been a surge in dengue fever cases in Malaysia as two deadlier forms of the virus have resurfaced in the country.

Kuala Lumpur, Jan 11: There has been a surge
in dengue fever cases in Malaysia as two deadlier forms of
the virus have resurfaced in the country.

Doctors have urged people to get themselves tested on the
very first day of appearance of symptoms of the fever.

There is a resurgence in the number of cases reported as
more patients are coming in with severe form of dengue fever,
University Malaya Medical Centre's professor Dr Sazaly Abu
Bakar said.

"This year, we have been seeing predominantly the Den-2
and Den-3 viruses (in samples sent for testing)," head of the
UMMC's medical microbiology department was quoted by local
media as saying.

Detection of the deadly virus has improved with two new
techniques that identify dengue antigens within a day, the
expert said adding that conventional tests worked only four to
six days after the first symptoms appear.

"It is better if people can get their results on the
first day of symptoms so that appropriate measures can be
taken to stop or reduce the spread of the disease," he added.

Suspected dengue cases have risen by a third to 1,155
in the first week of January, from 865 in mid-November last
year. Health authorities are bracing themselves for more, a
Malaysian daily said adding that Den-2 and Den-3 are two of
the four viruses that caused dengue and dengue haemorrhagic
fever.

The two viruses have a particularly bad effect on those
who have survived dengue fever caused by Den-1, another form
of the virus, experts warned saying that immunity from one
virus does not confer immunity from the other three.

While Den-1 is endemic to Malaysia, the incidence of
Den-2 and Den-3 viruses occurs in cycles. Den-2 virus last
struck in 1998-99 and Den-3 in 2003.

Den-3 is expected to gain dominance over Den-2 virus by
2008-9, Sazaly said adding, Malaysia had not yet been struck
by Den-4.

Bureau Report

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