Singapore

MP Low Yen Ling among hundreds down with dengue as peak season starts

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Low Yen Ling has come down with dengue fever. She is one of hundreds of people who contracted the disease in recent days as Singapore enters the peak of its dengue season.

Ms Low is an MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC, which includes some high-risk areas for dengue.

In a Facebook post yesterday, she said she had dengue and the doctor had advised her to "take some time out these few days to rest and recover".

"This incident is another reminder that we are all susceptible to dengue and it's a war we can't fight alone. We need each other, more than ever before - to keep our families and homes safe from dengue," she added.

Singapore has seen a surge in dengue infections this year, with 300 to 400 new cases reported each week. There have been more than 6,900 cases of dengue fever since January - more than double for the same period last year.

The number of cases this year is projected to exceed last year's total of 16,000.

The dengue season typically lasts from May till September.

SURGE FACTORS

The surge in infections ahead of this period was fuelled by the rise of a less common dengue virus serotype, or strain, as well as warmer temperatures and more rain, which have caused the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito to multiply.

Last week, the National Environment Agency announced that Project Wolbachia, the country's stealth weapon against dengue, would be expanded to Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Batok to suppress the Aedes aegypti mosquito populations in those neighbourhoods.

As part of the programme, male mosquitoes carrying the Wolbachia bacterium are released to mate with female mosquitoes, causing them to lay eggs that do not hatch.

Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Batok were chosen for the study because of their consistently high populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Ms Low is not the only MP to have been struck by dengue.

Last September, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa contracted the disease, and took to Facebook to describe the painful experience of fighting the virus.

Dengue fever, which can cause a very high fever, severe headache and joint and muscle pain, killed 20 people last year. The disease claimed seven lives from January to March this year.

Environment