Dengue prevention starts at home

The Aedes mosquito is identified by the black and white stripes on its body. -- PHOTO: JEROME MING 
The Aedes mosquito is identified by the black and white stripes on its body. -- PHOTO: JEROME MING 

As we enter the hot and humid season, the rate of dengue virus transmission also increases. Refresh your memory on information about the disease and measures to prevent mosquito breeding.

About dengue fever

Dengue fever is one of the most common mosquito-borne viral diseases in the world. It is spread through the bite of the female Aedes mosquito, which uses the protein in blood to develop its eggs. The Aedes mosquito is identifiable from the black and white stripes on its body. It is a day-biter, and is most active during dawn and dusk.

There are four distinct but closely related stereotypes of the dengue virus: Dengue Virus Type 1 (DENV-1), DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4. DENV-1, the strain of virus that caused the 2013 epidemic, remains dominant.

As there is no vaccine to protect against dengue to date, the best method is for everyone to stop mosquitoes from breeding.

Statistics

According to the National Environment Agency, there were 461 reported cases of dengue in the week ending June 7. By Thursday afternoon this week, there are already 334 reported cases. This number is likely to continue to rise, especially in the hotter months from June to October. There have been over 71,000 cases reported this year.

Steps to stop mosquito breeding1. Change water in vases and bowls on alternate days

2. Remove water from flower pot plates on alternate days (or avoid using flowerpot plates)

3. Scrub the plates thoroughly to remove mosquito eggs

4. Turn over all water storage containers

5. Cover bamboo pole holders when not in use

6. Cover gully traps or install anti-mosquito valves

7. Cover all containers that contain water

8. Clear blockages and put BTI (Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis) insecticide in roof gutters monthly

9. Add sand granular or BTI insecticide to other places where stagnant water is unavoidable monthly. The list of retailers selling insecticide, compiled by the NEA, can be found here.

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10. Clear fallen leaves in drains or gardens weekly

11. Remove stagnant water collected on leaves, tree branches and in drains weekly

12. Remove air-conditioner trays

13. Engage a contractor to redirect water from air-conditioner to the bathroom

14. Scrub the inside of vases to remove mosquito eggs on alternate days

15. Flush roots of plants with running water on alternate days

16. Throw unwanted cups and bottles, which collect rain water and breed mosquitos, into covered litterbins

17. If living in HDB or condominium, check that the flow of water is not blocked along corridor scupper drains

18. If living in HDB or condominium, ensure that potted plants or other belongings are not placed over the drainsIf you are going on holiday

1. Turn over all water storage containers and keep them dry

2. Cover all gully traps and toilet bowls

3. Seal off the overflow pipe of flushing cistern

For more information, refer to the NEA website: http://www.dengue.gov.sg/