Stagnant water behind dengue
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
STAGNANT water which serves as breeding ground for mosquitoes is being pinpointed as the primary culprit behind dengue outbreak in Brunei, a public health specialist said on Sunday.
“Intermittent rain that causes stagnation of water could be the main cause for the disease,” Dr Justin Wong from the Ministry of Health (MoH) told The Brunei Times.
Spots of standing water mainly around the urban areas and clogged drainage at construction sites serve as places for the dengue mosquito known as Aedes Aegypti to lay their eggs and multiply. Thus, areas with stagnant water are in danger of harbouring dengue mosquitoes.
“Because most areas, especially construction sites might not even have a proper waste system which causes water drainage to be clogged,” said Dr Wong.
He also advised workers in the construction sites to cover their stored water and keep their surrounding clean to make sure it would be free from stagnant water to deprive the dengue mosquitoes of places to lay their eggs.
The doctor added that waste dumping in the open was also a big cause of dengue outbreak since water could also accumulate in the garbage stack.
Dr Wong said that dengue could be fought through capacity- building, social mobilisation and collaboration between public and private agencies.
The key steps undertaken by MoH in dengue control include community awareness and engagement and mosquito control, he explained.
The health specialist also reported that there were fewer dengue cases reported in the country in May this year as compared to the same period last year.
As of last May, there were 29 dengue cases reported as compared to the same month of the previous year with 49 cases.
He added that with the decrease in dengue cases in Brunei, its prevention and control have been further intensified to ensure there is no sudden rise in cases, especially with the monsoon season setting in.
“The ministry has also been very active in overcoming the disease as we have introduced several dengue intervention programmes,” he said noting that the ministry is active in holding road shows and talks on dengue at education institutions.
He added that the health ministry had introduced evidence-based activities like parricidal exercises and spraying which had been performed in the past years to combat dengue.
He further said that relevant officials would inspect houses and yards for dengue mosquitoes if there were reports of cases in the area. The officials will also do yard inspections of homes nearby.
While preventable measures may seem enough, Dr Wong said the cooperation of local residents was as important.
“I advise residents to take a walk around their home surroundings and see that there are no mosquito breeding sites on their properties by emptying containers that hold water. This is an important step in trying to prevent the spread of dengue fever,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization, dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that affects infants, children, and adults with symptoms appearing within 3 to 14 days after the infective bite.
The Brunei Times