Date: Mon 5 Apr 2010
Source: Brunei News [edited]
The Ministry of Health yesterday [4 Apr 2010] assured the public that dengue was under control and was not showing any serious outbreak patterns despite a recent sharp rise in cases in the 1st 3 months of the year . Since January this year , the ministry has recorded a total of 53 positive cases. Only 38 cases were recorded last year .
There were more dengue cases this year  due to patterns of mosquito breeding through global warming and alternating seasons in the country, said Dr Rahmah Hj Md Said, Director-General at the Health Services Department. "However, we are not overtly concerned, as we manage to keep things currently under control and intensify our vector control activities," she told The Brunei Times.
Dr Hjh Rahmah said the ministry was hard at work and in the process of identifying the type of dengue strain [serotype] circulating in the country. She added that if health officials identify more than one strain [serotype], then that would be a "more worrying factor."
She said that the ministry would continue to inform the public on the current situation and that they have a big role in preventing the spread of the disease.
She said that dengue cases had been minimal in Brunei in the late 1990s. It was only in 2002 that the country experienced a dengue outbreak, and the disease has since remained endemic in the country. "It was not really a huge outbreak when it 1st occurred 8 years ago, but it called on us to be more vigilant and act immediately to control the situation and make sure it doesn't get out of hand. It marked the start of a more structured vector control activity," she said. "Furthermore, people are more educated and aware of the symptoms of dengue today; they now go for a medical check-up as soon as they experience fever," she added.
Dr Hjh Rahmah said that despite the noticeably sharp rise in the number of cases this year , the dengue cases in Brunei do not show any outbreak patterns yet. "We are looking at an increased number of cases affecting several different areas. However, we do not have outbreaks right now, but we are currently doing our best to prevent any from occurring," she said.
As of 31 Mar this year , the ministry has recorded 53 positive cases. Most cases were detected among residents in the Brunei-Muara district, particularly villages in Kampong Ayer. "Based on our vector control activities, we have identified that Kampong Ayer is currently a highly active breeding site of the _Aedes aegypti_ mosquito, the primary mosquito for the spread of dengue [viruses], " said the director-general. "This is why we stress that people specifically living in Kampong Ayer make a big effort in terms of cleaning their surroundings at all times and taking measures in eliminating mosquito breeding in their surroundings," she added. She went on to say that spraying is just a temporary method to get rid of mosquitoes but that the best primary intervention was to eliminate the potential breeding grounds.
Kampong Ayer residents have been advised to dispose of all rubbish properly and close the lids of all rubbish bins and keep free of stagnant water in and around the house. Keep an eye on flower pots with water, empty drums, bottles and canisters, as well as ensure unused perahu (small boats) are turned over. They have been also advised to cooperate with the ministry to tackle the rise in dengue cases. [Byline: Al-Haadi Abu Bakar]
[The decision to focus mainly on elimination of breeding sites is a wise one. A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map showing the location of Brunei on the north coast of Borneo Island can be accessed at <http://healthmap.org/promed/en?v=4.5,114.8,5
>. - ProMed Mod.TY]