SINGAPORE - A 59-year-old Singaporean woman has become the fourth person to die of dengue fever here this year.
The woman, who lived at Jalan Minggu in Upper Thomson, was admitted to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital on Monday (Dec 7) and died two days later, the Ministry of Health and National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a joint statement on Thursday (Dec 10).
The area she lived in was an active dengue cluster with 13 cases. Officers from NEA have found five counts of Aedes mosquito breeding and are carrying out vector control operations to kill adult mosquitoes and destroy potential breeding habitats.
"We are seeing an increase in the Aedes mosquito population, and are also experiencing a slightly warmer than usual year-end weather due to the El Niño phenomenon," the statement said. "The warmer conditions support faster breeding and maturation cycles of the Aedes mosquitoes, and shorten incubation periods for the dengue virus."
The proportion of dengue cases due to a variant virus - the DENV-2 serotype - has also risen and now accounts for half of all cases. This could mark an impending shift from the DENV-1 serotype that had accounted for most of the dengue cases since March 2013.
"This change in the main circulating dengue virus may be an early indicator of a future dengue outbreak unless measures are taken to suppress the Aedes mosquito population," the statement added.
Three other people had died of the disease earlier this year- a 79-year-old Singaporean man in November, a 60-year-old woman from India in September and a 53-year-old woman from China in February.