Singapore dengue infections at 16-year low

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The number of dengue infections in Singapore this year is the lowest in 16 years, with no deaths from the disease in the first nine months.

In the first 50 weeks of the year, 2,629 people had dengue - a drop of more than 10,000 from the same period last year.

With two weeks to go, the number of infections this year is likely to be the lowest since 2001, in stark contrast to the 13,100 people infected last year and the all-time high of more than 22,000 infections in 2013.

But the drop is not due to better control of mosquito breeding. In fact, the National Environment Agency said it is catching more Aedes mosquitoes under its surveillance system.

A spokesman for the agency said the low number of infections this year is probably because the dominant viral strain is DENV-2, against which many people here have immunity.

There are four dengue strains.

Once someone has been infected, he is protected against that strain.

The danger of the disease flaring up again remains. The last quarterly surveillance data showed a drop in DENV-2 infections. A change in the dominant strain could lead to a surge in infections as fewer people may be immune. - SALMA KHALID