SINGAPORE - A 25-year-old person has become the youngest to die from dengue this year.
Without revealing more details of the case, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (Aug 5) that the latest death takes the number of people who have died from dengue this year to 20 as of Sunday.
Their ages ranged between 25 and 92. Of the 20, 18 worked or lived in active dengue clusters, which currently number 391.
Professor Ooi Eng Eong of Duke-NUS Medical School said it is uncommon for young adults to be so seriously affected by the disease, even as he noted that he would need more information about the person's medical background to make more specific conclusions.
"In general, young children from five to nine or 10 years of age are at higher risk but this tails off when they become young adults," the deputy director for the emerging infectious diseases programme at the school said.
"So I would say it is not common, but the risk is also not absent."
Dr Leong Choon Kit, a family physician at Mission Medical Clinic also said that those who are older are usually more likely to die from dengue, but noted that people of all age groups have suffered adverse effects from the infection, including severe liver damage.
"The danger is not related to a particular age group... What we know is that those who get it bad usually have early damage to their liver, low albumin levels and are poorly hydrated," he said.
The best precaution then is for people to protect themselves against bites, get rid of breeding sites, see a doctor early, hydrate, and rest.
Those who have already contracted dengue are also at higher risk of more severe effects if they are re-infected, said Assistant Professor Vincent Pang of the NUS’ Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.
He added that people should be aware of the common symptoms of dengue - which include headache, nausea, and vomiting - and seek medical help as early as possible for early diagnosis and management, to reduce the risk of their condition worsening.
In 2016, an 11-year-old boy died of dengue in a rare case.
MOH said then: "Although uncommon, there have been previous cases of children aged 12 and below passing away due to dengue."