(File pix) In 2015, dengue topped the list of the top five infectious diseases with 120,836 cases in Malaysia. Pix by Faiz Anuar

KUALA LUMPUR: Dengue remains the number one infectious disease in Malaysia from 2015 up to September this year.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, in the Dewan Rakyat today, said that in 2015, dengue topped the list of the top five infectious diseases with 120,836 cases.

This was followed by tuberculosis (24,220 cases); hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD - 22,578 cases); food poisoning (14,433 cases); and leptospirosis (8,291 cases).

He said that in 2016, dengue remained the number one infectious disease with 101,357 cases, HFMD (47,008); tuberculosis (25,739 ); food poisoning (17,480); and viral hepatitis with 6,646 cases.

As of September this year, dengue cases stand at 71,641 cases, HFMD (26,030); tuberculosis (19,430); food poisoning (11,281); and measles (6,646).

Hilmi, who is Balik Pulau Member of Parliament, was responding to a question by Dr Mansor Abdul Rahman's (BN-Sik) on the number of infectious diseases in Malaysia from 2015 to 2017 and if their spread was due to foreign workers.

Dr Hilmi said based on various transmission methods of the diseases, it is difficult to determine if the incidence of infectious diseases originate from foreign workers, especially when they use public transportation.

"It is based on the type of disease; if it is tuberculosis then it is a yes. The disease can spread when sufferers cough onboard an enclosed area like a bus or train," he said, adding that this does not apply to leptospirosis and dengue.

Dr Hilmi said the authorities encourage bus operators to spray mosquito repellent in their vehicles every morning as a precautionary measure.

Infectious diseases are defined as disorders caused by organisms or even insects. However, not all infectious diseases can be passed from person to person.

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