THE state Health Department recorded 22 deaths due to AIDS-related complications last year, Minister of Environment and Public Health Datuk Michael Manyin said.
He also told the august house that the department recorded 113 new HIV and 73 AIDS cases.
In his winding up speech yesterday, Manyin said a total of 794 HIV cases, 400 AIDS cases and 161 deaths were reported since 1989, adding that heterosexual sex was still the main mode of transmission, comprising 77 per cent of the total HIV cases reported last year.
“AIDS has become one of the public health concerns in the state,” Manyin told the august house.
He said that the state Health Department would work with other government agencies, AIDS-related non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and religious bodies this year to offer free HIV screening at all government clinics for pre-marital couples in the state.
The free HIV screening is an addition to the free voluntary HIV screening services and screening of all ante-natal women at all government clinics.
On the hand, foot and mouth (HFM) disease, Manyin said 1,565 cases were notified to the department from Jan 1 to Apr 12 this year, compared with 3,068 cases in the corresponding period for last year.
According to him, there were two outbreaks this year - in March involving 48 students of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), and in early April at one village in Serian with 22 cases.
“HFM disease is still endemic in the state,” he said, adding that the department was notified of 6,571 cases last year.
The minister also brought to the attention of the august house that the state had shown a rising trend in the dengue incidence rate - 79.4 cases per 100,000 people last year, up from 21.8 cases per 100,000 in 2001.
Most of the cases happened in high-density population centres like Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu, Miri and Sarikei, although the number of cases in the rural areas was also rising.
He however said that deaths due to dengue fever had declined from 1.5 per cent in 2001 to 0.16 pct last year.