Malaysia continues to battle a steady rise in the number of dengue cases in the first three months of the year as the death toll from the mosquito-borne disease reached 26, a news report said on Saturday.
From January to March, a total of 9,889 people were diagnosed with dengue and 26 of them died, the ministry's director of disease control Hasan Abdul Rahman was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times daily.
Last year, there were a total 13,949 cases with 34 deaths from January to March.
Hasan said although the number of cases this year was lower than last year, the number of dengue victims increased from month-to-month. He blamed the rise on weather conditions, which made it conducive for the virus-carrying Aedes mosquito to breed.
The central Selangor state recorded the most cases at 262, followed by the capital Kuala Lumpur and the southern state of Johor, he said.
Last week, health ministry officials issued 144 compound notices on houses and shops where the Aedes mosquitos were found breeding.
The Aedes mosquito breeds in clear and stagnant water, such as flower vases, uncovered barrels, buckets, and discarded tires.
The government has been holding campaigns to educate the public as well as conduct checks on residential and construction sites in efforts to stem the steady rise in dengue cases.
However, despite the efforts, the number of cases and deaths continue to rise each year.
Symptoms of dengue are high fever and rashes. If not detected and treated early, the disease can be fatal.