In 2015,  the Southeast Asian country of Malaysia reported in excess of 120,000 dengue fever cases, including  322 dengue related fatalities. As 2016 came to a close, Malaysian health officials say the case tally has just eclipsed the 100,000 mark and the death toll is also down.

Aedes albopictus/FotoshopTofs
Aedes albopictus/FotoshopTofs

Through the 51st week of 2016, Malaysia has reported 100,028 cases and 231 deaths. Like in 2015, Selangor state accounted for about half of the country’s dengue cases with approximately 50,000 reported.

While the case total dropped a little in 2016, Malaysia still reports a significant number of dengue cases and is one of the hardest hit dengue endemic countries, and as one author critiquesMalaysia continues to rely on outmoded mosquito control techniques such as fogging.

Philip Stevens, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) wrote in an Op-Ed in the Star Online promoting the use of the dengue vaccine, “Why is it that 13 dengue-endemic countries in Asia and Latin America have so far approved the new vaccine (Dengvaxia) and Malaysia lags behind, despite its high burden of disease?”

In another piece in Malay Mail Online, Stevens questions the logic of the government–Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya stated earlier this month that the government is “still doubtful of the vaccine’s effectiveness, as such there is no need to register the vaccine in the country for the time being”.

What is clear is that current approaches to mosquito control are both ineffective and costly.  In light of tighter budget lines and the availability of more cost effective methods, perhaps it is time for the Ministry of Health to take on a fresh approach to fighting dengue.

Related: Dengue vaccine gains approval in nearly a dozen countries

In the past 50 years, the incidence of dengue worldwide has increased 30-fold, largely as a consequence of the growth of cities and increased travel.

Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of four relateddengue viruses. This disease used to be called “break-bone fever” because it sometimes causes severe joint and muscle pain that feels like bones are breaking.

People get the dengue virus from the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It is not contagious from person to person. For more infectious disease news and informationvisit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

There are three types of dengue fever in order of less severe to most: the typical uncomplicated dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHS) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS).

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there may be 50–100 million dengue infections worldwide every year. However, new research from the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust, using cartographic approaches, estimate there to be 390 million dengue infections per year worldwide.