While the coronavirus pandemic has been on every mind for more than two years now, another threat of much older provenance remains on the public health horizon: dengue fever. It is a disease caused by the dengue virus which is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infective mosquito. As the Ministry of Health notes, there is no specific treatment for dengue fever or for its more serious forms, dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. Treatment for dengue is supportive. In more severe cases, a patient could be admitted to hospital for aggressive emergency treatment, including fluid and electrolyte replacement, and/or blood transfusions.
Neither the disease nor its treatment should be treated lightly. The good news is that a person living in Singapore today is 10 times less likely to get infected with dengue for the first time than someone who was here in the 1960s. However, this also means that there is falling population immunity to dengue. As such, it is worrying that more than 15,000 cases of dengue have been reported here this year, and those numbers are expected to rise even further because the country has entered the traditional peak dengue season, which lasts usually from June to October. Hence the urgency of dealing collectively with dengue.