Dengue cases fall but still ‘much higher than usual’: NEA

The number of dengue cases reported in Singapore fell to 530 in the first week of February, 95 cases fewer than the previous week, according to latest figures published on the National Environment Agency website.
Channel NewsAsia 11 Feb 16;

SINGAPORE: A total of 530 dengue cases were reported in the week ending Feb 6, 95 cases fewer than the previous week but still “much higher than usual”, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on its website.

A total of 3,104 dengue cases have been reported in Singapore since Jan 3. Two people - a 47-year-old man living in Marsiling Rise and a 67-year-old man living in Toa Payoh - have died of the disease so far this year.

Tampines remains the biggest cluster with 276 cases since the start of the year, including eight reported in the past two weeks. That is fewer than the second-biggest cluster in Yishun, which saw 11 cases in the past fortnight.

Ms Lee Bee Wah, Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, said everybody has a part to play to combat the virus.

"Town Councils have to keep the common area clean and make sure that it is dry. And of course, residents can keep an eye out too. If there is water-ponding along the corridors after heavy rain, if they can, they should sweep it away. But if there is perpetual water-ponding, they can alert the Town Council," she said.

"For houses, of course, we would like to encourage residents to conduct thorough checks, be more vigilant, and perhaps get NEA to share photographs of where they have found mosquito breeding. I think that would help," Ms Lee added.

Responding to media queries, the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council said it has been "seeking out and destroying mosquito breeding sites", but it added that everyone has a part to play in the fight against dengue.

The Town Council will continue to remind residents of preventive measures.

NEA warned that there has been an increase in the Aedes mosquito population, with the warmer-than-usual weather shortening the breeding and maturation cycles of the mosquitoes, as well as the incubation periods for the dengue virus.

Additionally, the proportion of dengue cases due to the DENV-2 serotype has increased and now accounts for more than two-thirds of all dengue cases serotyped in Singapore, the agency said. Previously, the DENV-1 serotype accounted for most of the dengue cases in Singapore since March 2013.

“This change in the main circulating dengue virus and the increase in mosquito population due to warmer weather may be contributing to the spike in dengue cases. Immediate measures need to be taken by all stakeholders to suppress the Aedes mosquito population,” NEA said.

With the majority of breeding sites found in homes, and the top breeding spots being domestic containers and flower pot plates and trays, NEA urged homeowners who purchased plants for Chinese New Year to ensure that the plants do not become breeding habitats for mosquitoes.

Those planning to go on vacation should also mosquito-proof their homes before travelling, it added.

- CNA/cy/dl

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