Dengue cases may rise in next few months: NEA

National Environment Agency contracted workers fogging against dengue mosquitoes at Lorong 30 Geylang in 2016.
National Environment Agency contracted workers fogging against dengue mosquitoes at Lorong 30 Geylang in 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Dengue cases in Singapore may rise in the next few months, after a surge in the Aedes mosquito population in December, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Thursday (Jan 19).

About 60 per cent more Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were detected by NEA's Gravitrap surveillance system in December than in October 2016.

There is also a high diversity of dengue serotypes or strains, which may also contribute to an increase in dengue cases.

"The predominant serotype for 2017 thus remains uncertain, following the dominance of DENV-2 in much of 2016," NEA said.

"Historically, a change in predominant dengue virus serotype has been followed by a spike in dengue cases."

However, infections remain low for now. There were 70 cases of dengue fever reported in the first week of January, according to the Ministry of Health's infectious disease bulletin.

 

This is a fraction of unusually high 547 cases reported in the same period in 2016.

NEA advised residents to take steps to prevent mosquito breeding as Chinese New Year approaches. These include:

  • Turning over all water storage containers, such as ornamental plant containers, when not in use
  • Changing water in vases on alternate days
  • Removing water from flower pot plates on alternate days
  • Loosening hardened soil on alternate days

Home owners doing spring cleaning were reminded to properly dispose of any refuse, to avoid the discarded material from becoming unintentional mosquito breeding habitats.

Those planning to go overseas during the holiday period should mosquito-proof their homes before they travel, NEA said.