Forum: High weekly dengue cases remain a serious public health concern

We thank Mr P'ng Seok Oon for his feedback (NEA should suspend house visits for dengue checks, April 2).

Amid the current Covid-19 situation, the high weekly dengue cases remain a serious public health concern.

The total number of dengue cases has exceeded 5,000, which is more than double the reported number in the same period last year.

The five dengue deaths this year are people who resided or worked within dengue cluster areas.

Even amid the "circuit breaker" measures, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will continue to conduct inspections and enforcement action islandwide, to reduce dengue transmission.

Preventing mosquito breeding in homes remains a key aspect of our dengue control strategy. In 2019, NEA uncovered about 9,200 mosquito breeding habitats in homes.

We have also observed a 50 per cent increase in Aedes larval breeding found in homes over the past three years, compared with the preceding three years.

Residents staying at dengue cluster areas are strongly urged to cooperate with NEA officers and facilitate their checks.

Recognising the concerns arising from the Covid-19 situation, NEA has put in place measures to ensure that NEA officers performing dengue home inspections are healthy and fit for work.

Besides taking temperatures twice a day, other measures include maintaining good personal and hand hygiene at all times, such as sanitising their hands before and after every home inspection.

They also adhere to the Ministry of Health's guidelines, which include not working when one is feeling unwell and maintaining safe distancing from colleagues and home owners.

Dengue control officers inspecting homes also don masks during the course of their work.

Residents are also urged to do the Mozzie Wipeout regularly to get rid of stagnant water and to apply mosquito repellent as a protective measure. Also, they should spray insecticide in dark areas of their homes where adult mosquitoes tend to rest.

These are simple steps that can be taken to stop mosquito breeding and fight dengue.

Tony Teo

Director, Environmental Public

Health Operations,

National Environment Agency