Dengue cases poised to increase as aedes mosquito population surges
NEA detected 22 per cent more Aedes mosquitoes in first quarter of this year compared with previous quarter
An increase in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population this year has sparked concerns about more potential outbreaks of dengue fever.
Despite a drop in the number of cases - 599 - in the first three months this year compared to each quarter of last year, the National Environment Agency (NEA) expects an upswing in cases in the warmer months of June to October.
The higher temperatures tend to speed up the breeding and maturation cycles of the mosquitoes, with shorter incubation periods for the dengue virus.
Launching the National Dengue Prevention Campaign yesterday at Punggol Field, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said NEA had detected 22 per cent more Aedes mosquitoes in the first quarter this year compared with the previous quarter.
"It shows that as much as we do to bring down the breeding, there is a role for everyone to not allow the breeding to happen, particularly at home," he said.
"We must be extra vigilant, especially since we are approaching the traditional peak dengue period."
Mr Masagos said NEA had stepped up checks and uncovered about 4,200 mosquito breeding sites after conducting some 265,000 inspections, including 2,400 at construction sites, from January to March.
About 100 notices to attend court and six stop-work orders were issued, and nine court prosecutions were launched.
While the situation at construction sites has improved, NEA found many homes are still breeding mosquitoes.
For instance, homes made up about 70 per cent of the breeding sites in the Jurong West cluster, where three of the four dengue victims who died this year had stayed.
There were no fatalities last year.
Mr Masagos said there are no plans to raise the current $200 fine for home owners caught breeding mosquitoes.
Punggol Sapphires Residents' Committee chairman Jimmy Lee said most of the residents there are young couples who are more receptive to dengue prevention messages.
A resident, bank analyst Lim Jun Wei, who has 13-month-old twins, said it was quite scary that a mosquito's bite could lead to a death.
The 33-year-old said his family had taken preventive measures to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
"We try to make sure everything in the home is dry. We don't have any plants. And we make sure to tip the pails over and dry them daily."