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New dengue-fighting method now in trial stage, MOH says

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The method of releasing bacteria-infected mosquitoes to curb the spread of dengue in Malaysia is now in the trial stage in Shah Alam and AU Keramat in Selangor following the pilot project that began in February, Malaysian Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam said.

The Ministry of Health says it will need between two and three years before it decides to adopt the method.

"Although the outcome of the method has yet to be finalised, it nevertheless, shows positive signs when the number of dengue cases in the two areas showed a decline," he told a press conference after launching the national-level Asean Dengue Day 2017.

He said the mosquito eggs which had been injected with the bacteria did not carry the dengue virus.

"The mosquitoes infected with the bacteria were then released in the identified areas where the disease was recorded and the ministry would monitor the number of mosquitoes and dengue cases in the respective areas," added Dr. Subramaniam.

The minister said the method, conducted in collaboration with an institute in the United Kingdom, would be closely monitored for its effectiveness and side-effects before being expanded to other areas.

To date, the method is being applied by several countries such as the United States, Australia, and Singapore to combat dengue fever.

Earlier in his speech, Dr. Subramaniam said 53,750 cases of dengue fever and 122 deaths were recorded nationwide from January to July 15, as compared to 61,534 cases and 135 deaths during the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the ministry in a statement said that 6,031 construction sites were inspected nationwide from January to July 8, with 370 of them were compounded for breeding the Aedes.

A total of 1,790 vacant land lots had been identified as being at risk of Aedes breeding sites and of this number, 1,418 land lots had been cleared and larvicided.

Larvicide involves the spraying of insecticide on the surface of water to kill mosquito larvae.


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