Public reminded not to be complacent in measures to prevent dengue
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
ALTHOUGH Brunei has not seen any reports of Zika virus cases, members of the public are reminded not be complacent in keeping their surrounding environment sanitary as dengue is still a potential threat, the health minister said.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Zulkarnain Hj Hanafi said that it was important to understand that the vector that carries the Zika virus – the Aedes mosquito – is the same as that which carries dengue.
“There is a high association of the Zika virus with causing microcephaly in pregnant ladies, but it’s been overshadowing dengue lately, which actually kills.
“Around the world, thousands of people are affected by dengue and are killed by dengue, including in Brunei, although the numbers (of dengue deaths) here are thankfully small,” he said.
Kamaludin Mohd Yassin, CEO of Public Health at the Ministry of Health (MoH) said there were no fatalities from dengue in Brunei in 2015, but there were still over 300 cases of dengue reported in that year.
However, he said that this number of dengue cases has decreased compared to about five years ago when annual number of dengue cases would usually exceed 400.
“But we still need to focus hard on dengue prevention, and there needs to be continued awareness on getting to the root cause, which is the mosquitoes’ breeding grounds.
“You see people requesting for fogging, for example, to kill the mosquitoes but this is not the final solution – it’s maintaining your cleanliness,” YB Dato Dr Hj Zulkarnain pointed out.
Members of the public should always ensure that there is no opportunity for stagnant water retention in our surroundings, he said.
“Make sure that drains are flowing, and there’s no rubbish or anything that can contain mosquitoes around.
“Now that we’re becoming more urbanised as well, we have got to be more careful with potted plants at home which more people seem to be having – you have to check if these plant pots are retaining water,” he said.
YB Dato Dr Hj Zulkarnain said that the public, however, are becoming more aware of the importance of dengue preventive measures.
“Some grassroots leaders have been very good at spreading the message for example and holding cleaning campaigns, though there are some places where we still need to work hard (at spreading awareness),” the minister said.
The Brunei Times