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Malaysia hit by dengue outbreak

MALAYSIA'S government urged people yesterday to protect themselves from dengue fever after infections and deaths caused by the mosquito-borne disease doubled in the first weeks of this year.

Eight people had died of dengue this year until last Saturday, twice the number of fatalities in the same period last year, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Dengue fever had affected 3,211 people there from January 4 to 17, up from 1,514 cases in the same period last year, the ministry said.

Authorities attributed the increase to a persistent rainy season and unsanitary conditions around homes that enable mosquitoes to thrive in stagnant water.

More than half the cases occurred in the capital Kuala Lumpur and its neighboring state.

"People are aware (of the threat) but they are not taking action," a ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

The ministry said it has launched a campaign advising people to rid their homes and surroundings of flower pots, cans and other trash where stagnant water can collect and allow mosquitoes to breed.


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