Singapore

NEA urges community support in dengue prevention as cases rise

529 cases reported last week, higher than weekly number in previous 4 months

When Owen Ang experienced a high fever on May 9, he thought he could sleep it off.

When the fever persisted the next day, his parents took him to a hospital, worried he might have been infected by the virus that causes Covid-19.

But the 19-year-old student was told he had dengue.

Mr Ang had to take a blood test every two days to monitor his platelet count, until he started recovering on May 18.

"During the whole time, I felt drained and was worried at one point about my recovery," he said.

Mr Ang lives in Potong Pasir, where Avenues 1, 2 and 3 are at red alert level.

He is one of more than 7,000 cases of dengue this year.

The number of dengue cases is on the rise, with a total of 529 reported in the week ending May 16, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a media release on Monday.

This is higher than the 300 to 400 weekly cases in the first four months of the year, said NEA, warning of an increased risk of the disease as the peak dengue period approaches.

There have been seven deaths so far.

The agency is urging Singaporeans to pay attention to mosquito breeding or adult mosquitoes present in their homes, and to take the necessary steps to prevent or remove them.

Mr Andrew Lin Yikai, 36, a resident at Pavilion Circle, said he is aware of the high number of cases in a cluster there and worries about it "from time to time".

The estate in Bukit Batok has one of the largest clusters with 153 cases. While it is no longer a red zone area, it is still under surveillance, said NEA.

Mr Lin said he received three or four flyers on fogging dates since the circuit breaker period began. NEA officers have also gone door to door to conduct house inspections, he added.

"I do feel NEA has been stepping up their measures and I can say I appreciate this effort."

Apart from home inspections throughout the circuit breaker period, the agency is also conducting inspections at construction sites.

Additionally, NEA is working with the Ministry of Health, polyclinics and general practitioners to distribute over 300,000 bottles of mosquito repellent to patients with suspected dengue.

Dr Gavin Soh from Clarion Medical Clinic saw at least 11 cases in the past two months.

His clinic is located in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, which has been identified as a high risk area for dengue.

The area has seen 111 cases this year.

Dr Soh said that symptoms to look out for include fever, body aches, headaches, sore throats, abdominal pains, and body rash.

He said the symptoms can appear to be similar to those of Covid-19, so it is especially important to see a doctor if you feel unwell, to get a professional opinion on whether further testing should be conducted.

"Because of the coexistence of an ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we should be even more vigilant in curbing dengue," he said.

"It should be emphasised that if you have any prolonged fever for more than two days or just feel unwell, you should see a doctor."

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