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9 monkeypox cases reported in Malaysia from July to November
Published on: Wednesday, November 29, 2023
By: Bernama
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9 monkeypox cases reported in Malaysia from July to November
The health ministry and the immigration department are on the lookout for travellers with symptoms of monkeypox.
Kuala Lumpur: Nine cases of monkeypox infections involving a foreign national and eight locals were reported in the country between July and November this year.

Deputy health minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni said the first two cases were recorded in Kuala Lumpur in July, the third and fourth in Selangor last month, and the fifth in Sarawak on Nov 5, while the remaining four latest cases were also reported in the federal capital.

“The ministry is intensifying measures to control and prevent monkeypox infections, including monitoring the country’s international entry points in collaboration with the immigration department for early detection of travellers with symptoms.

“Foreign students being admitted to higher education institutions, especially from countries with reported cases of monkeypox or endemic monkeypox, are required to monitor themselves for any symptoms for 21 days and to seek treatment if they have the symptoms,” he said.

Lukanisman said this during the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat today, in response to Sabri Azit (PN-Jerai) who asked about the ministry’s preventive measures to ensure that monkeypox in Malaysia is not contagious like the Covid-19 virus.

Referring to the Malaysian monkeypox management guidelines, Lukanisman said those infected with the virus and close contacts are required to self-isolate in their homes or appropriate locations until they are confirmed free of infection.

“For monitoring purposes, we have 11 sentinel clinics comprising seven government and four private facilities, while for early detection of infection, we have a virus detection test service through 12 laboratories including four private facilities,” he said.

Lukanisman also told the Dewan Rakyat that the release of Aedes mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria had proven able to control and overcome the increase in dengue outbreaks.

He said the initiative was first implemented in 2019, which saw 19 mosquito-release localities recording a 100% decrease in dengue cases.

“Currently, there are 31 mosquito-release locations throughout the country with plans to add 10 new locations every year,” he said.

He was responding to a question by Shahidan Kassim (PN-Arau) about drastic measures by the ministry to curb the increasing number of dengue cases.

Lukanisman said Aedes mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria are not dangerous to humans, but instead eliminate the dengue virus when they mate with normal Aedes mosquitoes.

Although it is an effective method, he said, the ministry cannot implement it on a large scale as it is costly, with the average price of an Aedes mosquito carrying Wolbachia ranging from 30 to 45 sen each.

He said based on the data of the 47th epidemiological week for the period of Nov 19 to 25, the cumulative number of dengue cases was 108,429 compared with 56,304 cases for the same period in 2022 – an increase of 52,125 cases or 92.6%.

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