While some southeast Asian countries are reporting significantly less dengue fever cases in 2014 as compared to last year (Thailand and the Philippines), Malaysia has experienced the opposite as numbers continue to increase in the country.

Malaysian Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S.Subramaniam said the number of cases reported during the first 9 months of 2014 stands at 77,527 and 149 fatalities. This compares to the 2013 numbers for the same period–23,099 cases and 48 deaths.

“Moreover, the ministry anticipates that the change in weather recently will contribute towards the increase in dengue cases, especially in the last two months of the year, the Minister said. He also cleared the air about the effectiveness of papaya juice over dengue, which is gaining in popularity saying, “So far there is no scientific evidence that papaya juice can kill the virus in a patient’s body, but it can increase the number of platelet count in blood.

“When a patient is down with dengue fever, the platelet count in his blood will drop and I want further research done on papaya juice because it is capable of helping to reduce the illness,” he said.

Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of four related dengue 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.

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). Looking for a job in health care? Check here to see what’s available

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.

More about dengue fever

map of Malaysia