PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is trying outdoor spraying of a deltamethrin-based insecticide to kill Aedes mosquitoes in view of the record high number of dengue fever cases recently.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the number – more than 100,000 dengue cases with 215 deaths last year – was not only the highest the country had ever faced, but more dengue patients now had their brain and liver affected by the virus.
“We take the higher number of deaths seriously,” he said at a press conference before the ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting here yesterday.
He said the ministry had started the residual spraying since Feb 11 in four Selangor districts with a high number of dengue cases – Petaling, Hulu Langat, Gombak and Klang.
“The effectiveness of the spray will be assessed over two to three months and if proven to be effective, we will expand the use of the spray to other areas,” he said, giving an assurance that the active ingredient was not harmful to humans.
Currently used to control pests in agriculture and gardens, as well as on pets, deltamethrin is a synthetic compound that gives a broad-spectrum effect, meaning that most species of mosquitoes and other insects will also be affected.
Dr Subramaniam said the active ingredient was expected to last for three months in the field, and mosquitoes coming into contact with the sprayed surface would die.
He also reiterated the importance of doctors diagnosing dengue early, saying that two companies had agreed to lower the cost of the rapid test kit by 40%.
On the dispensing separation issue, he said more dialogue was needed between the stakeholders before a decision could be made.
“We will not implement anything without consensus from the various parties.
“For now, the current system stays, and there is no need for various parties to release statements on a matter that has not been decided,” said Dr Subramaniam, who added that the new Pharmacy Bill was still under review by various quarters, including the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
On Tuesday, discussions were held with the Malaysian Medical Association and Malaysian Medical Council secretariat, with four more sessions with other groups scheduled for March.
Discussions with other doctor groups will happen on March 4, with consumer groups in the second week, with ministries and government agencies in the third week, and with pharmacy associations and academia in the fourth week.
BY LOH FOON FONG