Second victim to die of dengue 'didn't want to leave mum alone'

THE second victim of this year's dengue epidemic was cremated on Monday at Mandai Crematorium, a day after he died in Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).

Yesterday, The Straits Times visited the flat in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 where the victim - a 60-year-old Singaporean Chinese man - reportedly stayed.

Several people inside were seen cleaning the flat, which had a strong smell of disinfectant.

When approached, two of the occupants - dressed in black - denied that the victim lived there, and directed reporters to the flat next door.

But neighbours confirmed this was indeed the victim's flat, which he shared with his ailing 86-year-old mother. Neighbours added that the victim also had two older sisters.

His 66-year-old older sister told Lianhe Zaobao that her brother had been in some discomfort even before he first went to TTSH last Wednesday.

But he chose not to seek treatment initially because he did not want to leave his mother alone at home.

The family said they had been surprised that the victim had contracted dengue fever because he did not live in an identified dengue cluster.

The sister told the Chinese daily: "When my brother went for a medical check-up a few months ago, he was found to be suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and mild asthma, so when we saw the rashes on his feet... we thought they were symptoms of these conditions at first."

When the victim went to TTSH last Wednesday, he was initially diagnosed with skin inflammation of the left leg and given antibiotics.

However, he returned to the hospital last Friday when his leg got so weak that he could hardly stand on it, while still having a fever.

The man was sent to a general ward the next day and diagnosed with dengue.

His condition worsened, and he was placed in the intensive care unit, before dying of dengue shock syndrome on Sunday morning.

The first victim of the dengue epidemic, Mr Ang Yong Han, 20, also died of dengue shock syndrome.

More than 9,500 people in Singapore have been infected by dengue fever in the current epidemic so far.

qnwong@sph.com.sg

ifarah@sph.com.sg

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