Dengue Fever

Dengue fever has been on the rise in Malaysia over the past 40 years.  It is a virus-caused disease spread by the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito and is more prevalent in urban areas.

There were 130,101 cases and 182 deaths in 2019, a sharp increase from 80,615 cases and 147 deaths in 2018.  Selangor, Melaka, KL and Johor were the worst affected states.

While dengue fever is rarely fatal, if left untreated it can develop into hemorrhagic fever stage which has a far higher fatality rate.

Symptoms of dengue are summarised in this graphic.

There are no preventative vaccines in use in Malaysia at present and the best way to combat the disease is to empty flower pots and other stagnant water pools near the home where the mosquito likes to lay its eggs. Wear loose fitting, light coloured clothes and apply mosquito repellent on exposed skin.

Some dengue trivia:

  • The Aedes mosquito has black and white stripes and only bites during the day time, mostly in the morning.
  • Dengue mosquitos do not like heights. If you live in a tower block above the second floor you are less likely to be bitten.
  • Mosquitos are attracted to warm bodies and to carbon dioxide. It follows that corpses are unlikely to be bitten.
  • Mosquitos can detect your presence from a distance to up to 35 metres.
  • Dengue is also known as breakbone fever.
  • Only female mosquitoes are dengue carriers.

Ant Vomit-Eating Mosquito

While on the subject , there is a genus of mosquitoes called Malaya which is found in many tropical areas including MalaysiaIt has a hairy bent proboscis and a unique feeding habit. It sticks its proboscis into the mouth of an ant. This makes the ant vomit and the mosquito eats the vomit. Since it does not suck the blood of humans we do not need to worry about it.

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