Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fight Against Dengue during Ramadan

Mee kolok seller Roslan Wahib is using plastic bags to pack his food. Traders have been asked to stop using Styrofoam lunch boxes, which are a breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes.

Stall operators using plastic bags instead of Styrofoam lunch boxes

KUCHING: RAMADAN bazaar stall operators are using transparent plastic bags instead of Styrofoam lunch boxes to prevent the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes.

Sarawak General Hospital director Dr Abdul Rahim Abdullah called on traders to use transparent plastic bags.

Styrofoam boxes, when not disposed of properly, contribute to the breeding of mosquitoes, as they can be easily filled with water.

A check at Medan Niaga Satok here showed that many traders are now using plastic bags.

It was reported earlier that the use of Styrofoam boxes during Ramadan is five to seven times higher as compared with other months.

Mee kolok seller Roslan Wahib, 20 said he felt obligated to assist the authorities in their call to discard containers properly.

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"Since improperly discarded Styrofoam lunch boxes have been singled out as a vector for mosquito breeding, stopping its use will be an effective way to minimise mosquito breeding.

"Although it is less convenient to store food in plastic bags, I am sure many food sellers will get used to it sooner or later," he said.

Another food seller, Khatijah, said she was using plastic bags to pack her mee rebus.

"Although there is no ban on Styrofoam boxes, I think we should play our part and stop using it," she said.

Up to last month, Sarawak General Hospital reported 45 cases of dengue fever from its Kuching and Samarahan divisions, including four cases of haemorrhagic dengue fever.

In Shah Alam, as of this month, dengue cases are up six per cent, compared with the same period last year.

Selangor Health director Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar said 5,893 cases have been recorded in the state.

However, the number of deaths from the disease was down to six compared with 12 in the same period last year.

"We believe that the 50 per cent reduction in mortality rate is a result of early diagnosis and effective treatment."

Azman urged the public to seek immediate treatment if they have dengue symptoms.

In a related development, Dr Azman said four summonses were issued during Ops Gempur at housing areas around Shah Alam to educate owners to take care of cleanliness around their homes.

"A minimum compound of RM500 was issued to owners whose premises became Aedes-breeding grounds," he said, adding that everyone must cooperate with the authorities and local agencies to address the threat of dengue.

"We hope to increase community involvement in efforts to prevent and control dengue through the establishment of a dedicated dengue squad and Communication Team for Behavioural Change (Combi) among residential associations, government agencies, private corporations and non-governmental organisations."

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