A community based study on dengue viral infections

A community based study on dengue viral infections was conducted during the ‘Hari Kesihatan dan Kesedaran Demam Denggi’ (Health and Dengue Fever Awareness Day) on 23 - 24 September 2017 in Shah Alam. Led by Associate Professor Sharifah Syed Hassan, this was a collaborative project between Monash University Malaysia, the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) and the Section U2 community of Shah Alam.

Health officials of the Petaling Health District Office had identified Section U2 as a hotspot dengue zone, making the community a good cohort for the year-long prospective study. The study was funded by MOSTI Malaysia and the Tropical Medicine and Biology research platform of Monash University Malaysia.

The purpose of this event was to educate and update the public on new knowledge regarding dengue-human-mosquito interaction and increasing their awareness of how and why dengue can be fatal in some cases. Residents of Section U2, Shah Alam, participated in a ‘Knowledge, Attitude and Practice’ (KAP) survey regarding dengue and its prevention. Blood samples looking into antibody status for dengue, chikungunya and zika virus infections were also obtained from participants.

Blood sampling will continue on a 3-monthly interval over one year, with participants being updated with the results. During the study period, participants who develop symptoms suggestive of dengue virus infections, will be required to visit selected General Practitioners where free testing for dengue virus infections will be conducted.

During the two-day event, trained phlebotomists drew blood from participants. 25 Monash University Malaysia undergraduate students (from the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the School of Pharmacy) were involved as data collectors. A number of postgraduate students also assisted with the set up and logistics of the event.

A total of 240 people participated in the Dengue Research Study. Other members in the organising committee from the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, who contributed to the 2-day event are Dr Nowrozy Jahan, Dr Lau Wee Ming, Dr Amreeta Dhanoa, Dr Tha Kyi Kyi, Associate Professor Quek Kia Fatt and Professor Maude Phipps.