As the country is busy handling the COVID-19 pandemic, a silent killer continues to lurk in the background.

According to Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, a total of 50,511 dengue cases and 88 fatalities were recorded from January 1 to June 13, this year.

Although this number is lower than the 56,819 cases and 88 deaths recorded in the corresponding period last year, the past eight week has witnesses a rising trend in dengue cases, with an average of eight percent increase recorded every week.

"Based on the trends, the ministry is expecting the second wave of dengue in early June until Sept 2020.

"(Dengue preventive) efforts will be enhanced with the involvement of health agents, namely the Communication Behavioral Impact (Combi) programme volunteers across Malaysia, who will be assisting the ministry in carrying out educational activities on dengue prevention through the new norm approach," Adham was quoted telling by Bernama, in conjunction with the 10th Asean Dengue Day, yesterday.

World Health Organisation (WHO) data has shown that Malaysia has one of the highest number of cases, among 129 countries which has dengue infection risk.

In 2018, 80,615 cases and 147 dengue-related deaths were recorded, while in 2019, the number rose to 130,101 cases and 182 deaths.

Experts have previously expressed concern that the numbers may worsen this year, due to the unchecked mosquito breeding sites, brought about by the closure of premises during the Movement Control Order (MCO) enforced to control the spread of COVID-19.

As of last month, Selangor led the list of states with the highest number of dengue cases, with 23,140 cases, followed by Johor (3,181), Kuala Lumpur (2,932), Sabah (2,056), Kelantan (1,441) and Perak (1,255).

Source: Bernama, NST
Photo source: Astro Awani