Spike in haze-related diseases in Sarawak

The Sarawak health department has advised the public to take precautions to reduce the effects of the haze. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of asthma, conjunctivitis and respiratory tract infection (URTI) cases in Sarawak recorded an increase due to the haze in the state.

The health ministry said after monitoring at 15 haze sentinel facilities in the state , it found that asthma cases had increased from an average of 258 cases from June 30 to Sept 7 to 307 cases between Sept 8 and 14.

“Likewise for conjunctivitis, there was an increase of 63 cases to 114 cases and URTI increased from 1,788 to 1,868 cases during the same period,” it said in a statement,

For the same period in Sri Aman, based on those who sought treatment at the Sri Aman health clinic, there was a drop in asthma cases from 34 to 31.

However, conjunctivitis cases increased from five to six cases and URTI cases increased from 66 to 71, it said.

In Kuching, at the Jalan Masjid health clinic and the Puteh health clinic, all three illnesses recorded a drop, with asthma from 61 to 58 cases, conjunctivitis (16 to 13 cases) and URTI (487 to 425 cases).

For Samarahan division, based on patients visiting the Samarahan health clinic, there was an increase in asthma cases from five to seven cases. However, for conjunctivitis, there was a drop, from three to two cases and URTI, from 34 to 24 cases.

At the Sarikei health clinic, there was an increase in asthma cases ( from 10 to 18 conjunctivitis (from four to nine) and URTI diseases (247 to 301).

The Sarawak health department advised the public, especially the high-risk groups, such as children, elderly folk, cigarette smokers and those suffering from diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, heart disease and allergies to take precautions to reduce the haze effect.