Singapore

Dengue situation eases but NEA urges vigilance to avoid resurgence

The dengue situation this year has eased after last year's record number of cases, but the authorities are urging people to keep their guard up and stamp out mosquito breeding grounds at home to avoid a resurgence.

More than 2,000 dengue cases have been reported in Singapore so far this year, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said yesterday, as it announced the launch of this year's dengue prevention campaign.

Dengue infections had surged past the 10,000 mark by early June last year.

Cases are expected to increase towards the middle of the year, with the weather getting warmer.

MOSQUITOES

Two other factors could contribute to a worsening situation, NEA said. The first is the high populations of the adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes - the vector that spreads the dengue virus - in some areas.

The other is the spread of dengue virus serotypes previously uncommon here. This means people would not have immunity against infection from these serotypes.

Since 2016, the predominant dengue virus serotype in Singapore was serotype 2, NEA said. But over the past two months, there have been more cases of serotypes 3 and 4 (DENV-3 and DENV-4), which now make up more than 60 per cent of cases sampled.

"As DENV-3 has not been dominant since about three decades ago, and the incidence of DENV-4 has consistently been low, more people are susceptible to these two serotypes currently in circulation," NEA said.

The launch of the national dengue prevention campaign aims to rally the community to deal with the threat seriously.

The campaign will be led by grassroots advisers and leaders, with support from NEA's dengue prevention volunteers, who will conduct house visits to advise residents on mosquito breeding habitats and share dengue prevention tips.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of visits to households in Zhenghua division in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan said that while the situation had eased this year, the number of cases has started to climb in recent weeks. For instance, 131 cases were reported between April 18 and last Saturday, up from 112 cases between April 11 and 17, and 102 cases the week before.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.

MEDICAL & HEALTH