The number of cases of the mosquito borne viral illness, dengue fever, has topped the 50,000 mark as Malaysian health officials put the tally at 50,152 as of June 9.

Of this total, 138 fatalities have been confirmed as of May 23.

Selangor state has reported 58 percent of all cases (29,055) while seven other states including Kuala Lumpur have seen greater than 1000 cases.

According to the World Health Organization, 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 withsymptomsappearing 3-14 days after the infective bite. As many as 400 million people areinfectedyearly.

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.

map of Malaysia