New numbers from the Malaysia Health Ministry, or the Kementerian Kesihatan show that since the beginning of the year, the country has reported nearly 20,000 dengue fever cases to date. The actual number is 19,996 through Sunday, including 43 dengue related fatalities.

Aedes aegypti mosquito feeding on a human host/CDC
Aedes aegypti mosquito feeding on a human host/CDC

During the general same time frame in 2015, Malaysia reported 19,349 cases through Feb. 16, 2015. In addition, the death toll last year was 44 at this time.

The states reporting the most cases include Selangor (9,828), Johor (3,058), WP Kuala Lumpur (1,240) and Pulau Pinang (1,026).

Dengue emerged as a public health burden in Southeast Asia during and following the Second World War and has become increasingly important, with progressively longer and more frequent cyclical epidemics of dengue fever/dengue hemorrhagic fever.

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).