Singapore reports highest number of dengue cases in a week for 2015

There were 455 dengue cases reported last week, 86 more than the week before, says the National Environment Agency.
Channel NewsAsia 5 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE: A total of 455 dengue cases were reported in the week ending Jan 2, 86 more than the week before, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in an update on its website. This is the highest number of cases in a week recorded in 2015.

NEA reiterated that the proportion of dengue cases due to the DENV-2 serotype has increased in the Republic and now accounts for more than half of all dengue cases in Singapore. The DENV-1 serotype had accounted for most of the dengue cases since March 2013 and NEA said this change in the main circulating dengue virus may be an early indicator of a future dengue outbreak. When there is a prevalent serotype of dengue in the population, the community will build up a "herd immunity" to the serotype. When the main circulating dengue serotype changes, there will hence be less community immunity against the new serotype.

NEA is urging members of the public as well as stakeholders to take immediate action to stem the further increase in cases. "We are seeing an increase in the Aedes mosquito population and are also experiencing slightly warmer than usual year-end weather due to the El Nino phenomenon," NEA said. The warmer conditions support faster breeding and maturation cycles for mosquitoes and shortens incubation periods for the dengue virus, the agency added.

NEA said source eradication of mosquito breeding habitats remains key to preventing mosquito breeding and encouraged stakeholders to play their part by checking their premises daily for these habitats and removing them. Residents with plants in vases should also change the water and scrub the inside of the vases every alternate day.

"Those infected with dengue should also apply repellent as regularly as possible to prevent mosquitoes from biting and picking up the virus from them and those showing symptoms of dengue should see their GPs early to be diagnosed," NEA added.

- CNA/hs

Sharp rise in dengue cases last week
Salma Khalik, The Straits Times AsiaOne 6 Jan 16;

Dengue cases rose sharply at the end of last year. The week of Dec 27 to Jan 2 saw 455 cases - the highest for the year and 86 more than in the previous week.

It brings the total number of people infected last year to more than 11,000, with four dying from this mosquito-borne viral disease.

The victims are mainly from the eastern half of the country, with the largest of the 97 active clusters in Tampines, which has 178 cases.

Dengue had been quiet for most of the year, with the number of infections below 300 cases a week.

But December, which is not usually the high dengue season, had three weeks of more than 300 cases and one with 455, possibly signalling a big outbreak.

The last time that dengue numbers topped 400 in a week at the turn of the year was in 2013 - the year of the worst dengue outbreak, with more than 21,000 people diagnosed with the disease.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) warns that it has been seeing a rise in the number of aedes mosquitoes - the ones that transmit the dengue virus - likely caused by the warmer year-end weather, leading to mosquitoes breeding and maturing faster.

Another worry is the change in the dominant virus. Den-1 has been responsible for most of the dengue cases here since March 2013, said the NEA. But the Den-2 virus now accounts for more than half of the cases. Going by past experience, each time the dominant strain changes, the result is almost always a surge in cases.

Studies show that the number of diagnosed cases is the tip of the iceberg, with real numbers more than 20 times the official figures.

This is because most people would see a doctor only if they are very sick. Symptoms include sudden high fever, joint and muscle pain, vomiting and a red rash.

Dengue cases in Tampines spike to 188 on Tuesday
Tampines Town Council has already strengthened preventive measures across cluster areas, such as oiling drains and gullies on a daily basis to prevent mosquito breeding.
Chan Luo Er Channel NewsAsia 6 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE: Despite stronger preventive measures against dengue, the number of cases in Singapore's biggest cluster in Tampines rose by 10 in a single day to a total of 188 as of Tuesday (Jan 5), according to statistics from the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Tampines Town Council has already strengthened preventive measures across cluster areas. For example, drains and gullies are now oiled daily to prevent mosquito breeding, up from once a week. The affected areas are Tampines Ave 1, Tampines Ave 3, Tampines Ave 4, Tampines St 81 and Tampines St 91.

Stakeholders in the area have also stepped up their efforts. As the new school year started this week, a preschool with 120 students enrolled reached out to parents to help keep the children safe.

Principal of My First Skool Suhana Salleh said: "During our daily outdoor activities, we encourage parents to put mosquito patches on the children's uniforms. We also make sure that our centre is very clean and there is no trapped water in the toilets. On top of that, we work very actively with NEA... officers will come every week to our centre."

Over at the second-largest cluster along Pasir Ris Streets 11, 12, 21, and 51, a total of 81 dengue cases have been reported as of Jan 5.

In response to media queries, MP for Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC Zainal Sapari said its pest control team conducts checks twice a week, up from once a week previously, and that most mosquito breeding sites have been found inside homes.

He added that grassroots leaders have been going door-to-door to reach out to residents on taking precautionary measures.

- CNA/xk


Dengue fight: More breeding sites found in Tampines, says Masagos
The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources is calling for volunteers to help distribute mosquito repellent to residents in the affected areas.
Channel NewsAsia 8 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE: A total of 86 breeding sites were found in a cluster in Tampines, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said in a Facebook post on Friday (Jan 8).

The Tampines Polyview cluster is located near Temasek Polytechnic. The cluster has 195 reported dengue cases as of Thursday, up from 188 on Tuesday. Of the breeding sites, 60 were found in homes, 19 in common areas, six in other premises and one in a Downtown Line 3 (DTL3) construction site.

During an earlier inspection with the National Environment Agency (NEA) "adult mosquitoes and larvae were found in traps, indicating a "high level of mosquito activity" said Mr Masagos. This was "despite three rounds of home inspections and destruction of breeding habitats".
NEA said all 86 mosquito breeding sites found have been destroyed as of Thursday.

HALF OF THE DENGUE CASES ARE DTL3 CONSTRUCTION WORKERS: NEA

It also said out of the 195 dengue cases, 81 are foreign workers working at the DTL3 construction site, while the rest are residents in the area.

"Although the construction site is not the key contributor of mosquito breeding, NEA has been working closely with the main contractor, Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisti - C.M.C di Ravenna, to implement a daily temperature taking regime for all its workers," NEA said.

Insect repellent has been distributed to all staff on site and the contractor has an in-house vector control team to carry out search-and-destroy work as well as application of anti-mosquito oil, the agency said. In addition, the pest control operator for the contractor carries out treatment on site twice a week, NEA stated.

A total of 40 of the cases are the DENV-2 strain.

FIGHT AGAINST DENGUE

On Wednesday, it was reported that Tampines Town Council had already strengthened preventive measures across cluster areas. For example, drains and gullies are now oiled daily to prevent mosquito breeding, up from once a week.

Mr Masagos also said that other than regular checks and oiling of drains, NEA officers have been carrying out inspections at night and on weekends, while reaching out to all residential units.

In their release, AVA and NEA said dengue cluster alert banners have been put up around the Tampines estate. There are also alert posters at the lift lobbies "to heighten awareness", they added, advising residents to allow NEA officers to carry out indoor spraying of their homes.

Mr Masagos has called for volunteers to assemble at the Tampines West Community Club on Jan 17 at 2pm to help distribute mosquito repellent to residents in the affected areas, as well as help create awareness on the dengue situation.

NEA said it is working with members of the community from Tampines Polyview, Palmspring, Terrace, Green and Palmsville RCs to not just conduct house visits, but also to remind residents about the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout.

It said the top breeding habitats in homes are domestic containers and flower pot plates or trays. The top breeding habitats in public areas are discarded receptacles and closed perimeter drains, it said.

- CNA/av

Volunteers needed to fight dengue; more breeding sites found in Tampines: Masagos
Chew Hui Min Straits Times 9 Jan 15;

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans need to chip in to help prevent dengue, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said, after a dengue inspection in Tampines.

A total of 86 mosquito breeding sites were found in the Tampines Polyview cluster, said Mr Masagos in a Facebook post on Friday (Jan 8).

"Sixty were in homes, 19 in common areas, six in other premises, and one in a construction site," he wrote.

The minister, who is also an MP of Tampines GRC, accompanied National Environment Agency (NEA) officers on an inspection visit in Tampines Polyview.

It is the largest dengue cluster to date, with 195 dengue cases reported as of Thursday.

"Other than regular checks and oiling of drains, the officers have also been carrying out inspections at night and on weekends, reaching out to all residential units," Mr Masagos said.

During the inspection, they found adult mosquitoes and larvae in some of the Gravitraps, indicating a high level of mosquito activity, despite three rounds of home inspections and destruction of breeding habitats.

"We need to prevent mosquito breeding. But NEA officers and Town Councils cannot achieve this alone," he said.

"I would like to call out to volunteers to come down to Tampines West CC on Sunday, 17 January at 2pm to help us distribute repellents to residents in the affected areas and to create awareness on the dengue situation and also to encourage them to practise the five-step Mozzie Wipeout. #stopdengue"

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