Dengue strikes fear in Section 17 residents

Jerry Choong
The hot weather and sporadic rain have contributed to an uptick in dengue cases in Section 17. ― Picture by Farhan Najib

PETALING JAYA, June 14 — Residents in Section 17 here are increasingly affected by dengue as hot weather and sporadic rain provide good breeding conditions for Aedes mosquitoes.

Public relations practitioner Tan Wai Fong, 48, who lives with her mother in Section 17, said she suspected a condominium project nearby may be contributing to the problem.

"They had dug up and tunnelled parts of the road to lay down piping and wiring. But sometimes they do a shoddy job of covering up the potholes or at times do not cover it at all.

"So when it rains the water collects, turning them into mosquito breeding grounds. Additionally there is a lot of garbage and refuse piling up around the area," she said.

Checks by Malay Mail found potholes scattered around the development site and accumulating garbage from the nearby temporary Section 17 wet market.

Tan said health officials were in the neighbourhood weeks ago, distributing sachets of mosquito larvae killer for residents to place around their homes. One of them informed her that a neighbour living behind her road caught dengue.

On Saturday, Tan's 77-year old mother developed a fever and was eventually admitted into a hospital for dengue, where she remains stable. Tan also caught a fever on Monday.

"I have been living in Section 17 for around 20 years now. We never had any issues with dengue until the tunneling of the roads,

"I fear for the health of my neighbours, many whom are elderly and are vulnerable to being infected by dengue. The developer needs to do their part to ensure there is no water in the potholes, at the very least," she said.

Another resident is security guard Mahmor Mohd Salleh, 60, who lives about 2km from the construction site. He said some of his neighbours also came down with fever in the past week.

"Not only that, but also colds, diarrhoea, and red spots on the body. Bizarrely, when they go to the hospital for tests, they are told there is no indication of dengue,

"So far there have been no chronic cases, but I fear with the hot weather and intermittent rain things could get worse," he said.

Grocery shopkeeper K. Letchumy, 33, operates her business right across from the site. Although not a resident, in the past three years her shop has been running she noticed dengue cases around the area.

"Just the other day I heard the son of a food stall owner behind my shop came down with dengue. It seems to occur frequently during the middle of the year and at the end,

"Thankfully so far I have not caught it. I try to keep my shop as clean as possible to prevent that. But I do not know how long it will take until it strikes," she said.