KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has set up a task force to combat dengue fever as deaths from the mosquito-borne tropical disease have soared, Prime Minister Najib Razak said Tuesday.
Najib said he hoped the task force led by his deputy would be able to curb the spiralling number of cases, according to local media reports.
Eighty-two people have died from the flu-like illness from January until June 21, more than triple the number in the same period last year. The number of cases has soared 3.5 times to more than 42,000, according to health ministry figures.
The deadliest year on record in Malaysia was 2010 when 134 people died from dengue. More than 43,000 cases were reported for all of last year, with 92 deaths, up from 35 dead in 2012.
"We hope the establishment of this special task force will be able to curb the rise in dengue cases and at the same time implement preventive measures more effectively throughout the country," Najib was quoted by the Star as saying.