A latest issue of the report published by the Health Promotion Unit has revealed that as compared to previous years, the rate of HIV has increased. The report also stated that other infectious diseases like Salmonella, Chlamydia and Chickenpox have peaked during 2009.
The total number of cases of Salmonella, Chlamydia and Chickenpox during 2008 were 142, 116 and 248 respectively while in 2009 there was a higher incidence of Gonorrhea (63 cases when compared to 49 in 2008) and Campylobacter (127 cases when compared to 69 in 2008).
In Malaysia, the heterosexual transmission is on the rise and epidemic is dominated by injecting drug users. In 2008, 27% new HIV cases were reported in Malaysia as compared to 20% in 2004. The proportion of women reported with HIV has also increased from 4% of new cases in 1995 to 19% of new cases in 2008.
Dr. Grech explained to interpret all these figures about infectious diseases with caution. Like HIV cases in Malta are shared by Maltese and also cases in immigrants and the surge in the notified 2008 cases of HIV could be related to the increase in the inflow of immigrants that particular year.
He also said, "The high numbers of salmonella, chickenpox and scarlet fever during 2009 is probably due to increased vigilance in detection and notification of these illnesses during that particular year. There was particular media exposure about scarlet fever during year 2009".
Health Promotion Unit has to act with caution when publishing such statistics as the public may be alarmed unnecessarily.