New high in dengue cases?

A banner displaying the number of dengue cases at dengue hotspots in Tampines Ave 4.
A banner displaying the number of dengue cases at dengue hotspots in Tampines Ave 4.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Singapore is on the brink of its worst dengue epidemic yet.

Warmer weather, among other factors, could lead to a spike in the number of Aedes mosquitoes responsible for spreading the disease. The number of dengue cases this year could surpass 30,000, the National Environment Agency warned yesterday. The previous high was 22,170 cases in 2013.

The agency, which is working to keep mosquitoes in check, thinks the high figures will result from the warmer weather brought by the El Nino phenomenon. This would allow mosquitoes to breed faster.

To make matters worse, the predominant virus strain is switching to DEN-2 from DEN-1. Such a change is usually followed by a spike in dengue cases due to low immunity.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2016, with the headline 'New high in dengue cases?'. Print Edition | Subscribe