In 2014, the global market research company Ipsos conducted a research on 500 adults across Malaysia on how aware they are about dengue. Here are some of the opinions they received from the people they surveyed. Do you agree with these opinions?
#1 Malaysians believe that they are very knowledgeable about dengue.
PARTIALLY TRUE. With more and more people having access to information, especially with the widespread use of mobile devices, more Malaysians are knowledgeable about dengue than before. However, there are some misconceptions that still persist, and some of these misperceptions, as you will see, can cause Malaysians to become complacent and safe. When, in truth, they are still at risk of dengue!
#2 Only very young and very old people are at risk of dengue infections.
FALSE! Dengue infection can happen to anyone, young or old.1 In fact, if you have a more active lifestyle (due to work or school), there is a higher risk of you being bitten by an infected Aedes mosquito while you are out and about.
#3 Dengue is not life-threatening.
FALSE! The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 500,000 people are hospitalized each year due to severe dengue, most of them children, and 2.5% of them will die.1 In Malaysia, as of July 4, there are 59,365 dengue cases in 2015, and 165 deaths. Therefore, dengue can be fatal, especially if not detected early!
#4 The risk of dengue is higher if you live in a village area. In town housing areas, things are cleaner and there are fewer places with stagnant water for Aedes mosquitoes to breed.
FALSE! If we look at the recent dengue cases in Malaysia, most of them actually occurred in towns and cities. There are many spots even in urban areas where standing water can be found – clogged drains, flower pots and even the tray in your air-conditioner!
Furthermore, there are usually more people living in cities, and these people live closer to one another. Therefore, it is easier for infected Aedes mosquitoes to bite more people, transferring dengue from one person to another probably more quickly than in rural areas.
Don’t be complacent or take for granted that you and your loved ones are safe from dengue. Dengue doesn’t pick its victims, so let’s do your part to protect yourself and your loved ones from this potentially fatal disease.
World Health Organization. Dengue situation update number 469: update on the dengue situation in the West Pacific region. Retrieved on May 8, 2015 from http://www.wpro.who.int/emerging_diseases/dengue-biweekly-20150715.pdf