Dengue cases last week almost double from a year ago, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Dengue cases last week almost double from a year ago

This article is more than 12 months old

The Republic is facing a potential dengue outbreak, as the number of cases recorded last week is almost double that of the same period last year, the National Environment Agency (NEA) warned on Thursday.

The fast-transmitting dengue virus serotype 3 (DenV-3), which the population has low immunity against, is currently predominant. This means more people are susceptible to contracting it, said the agency, urging “urgent collective action” to stop mosquitoes from breeding.

A total of 279 cases were reported last week and, as at Jan 18, there were 82 active clusters. Of these, 13 were classified as large ones with 10 or more cases. In 2022, 147 cases were recorded in the same week.

NEA said the number of cases recorded in 2023 has remained high, with the figure hovering around 280.

The virus is spreading relatively quickly in three of the large clusters – in Hougang Avenue 1, Lorong 4 Toa Payoh and Hougang Avenue 6, said the NEA. A cluster is formed when two or more cases of dengue are recorded within 150m of each other and within 14 days.

Dengue is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, whose population size increased in December 2022, said NEA. Its population was 24 per cent higher than in December 2021.

To prevent the spread of dengue, NEA stressed the urgent need to remove potential mosquito breeding habitats.

Some of the most common mosquito-breeding spots found in homes last year included domestic containers, flower pot plates and trays, as well as ornamental containers such as vases.

In anticipation of households and other premises displaying ornamental plants during Chinese New Year, NEA said it has stepped up inspection of all plant nurseries.

It also launched a publicity campaign and distributed red packets and festive posters with dengue prevention messages to nurseries, to raise awareness among both buyers and sellers.

“Those with plants at home and at their premises are urged to take care of their plants to prevent them from becoming mosquito breeding habitats. Ensure that water does not accumulate in the flower pot plates or on top of any hardened soil,” the agency said.