The number of dengue fever related fatalities in Malaysia has increased by 10 since our last report one week ago, bringing the total deaths to 54 since the beginning of the year.

Aedes mosquito
Aedes aegypti image/CDC

Malaysia health officials put the country’s dengue tally at 22,464 through Feb. 23. Selangor continues to report the most cases in the country with more than half the total.

In 2014, Malaysia saw a big increase in dengue, in fact a three-fold increase from the 2013 numbers.

The World Health Organization says dengue is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito infected with one of the four dengue virus serotypes. It is a febrile illness that affects infants, young children and adults with symptoms appearing 3-14 days after the infective bite.

Dengue is not transmitted directly from person-to-person and symptoms range from mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash. There is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat dengue. People who have dengue fever should rest, drink plenty of fluids and reduce the fever using paracetamol or see a doctor.

Severe dengue (also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever) is characterized by fever, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding and breathing difficulty and is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children. Early clinical diagnosis and careful clinical management by trained physicians and nurses increase survival of patients.