Dengue cases drop but remain high; NEA to keep up its control efforts

The 37 coordinated foggings carried out in August doubled that of July.
The 37 coordinated foggings carried out in August doubled that of July.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Despite some success in fighting dengue, the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Wednesday (Sept 2) said it is sustaining its efforts to keep the current outbreak under control.

Since the start of August, the number of weekly dengue cases has fallen, with 1,155 cases reported last week, 133 lower than the 1,288 the week before. NEA also detected about 50 per cent less Aedes mosquitoes breeding in Town Council-managed areas during the month, compared with a month ago.

But NEA said the number of cases remains high as Singapore is still in the midst of the traditional peak dengue season, which lasts from around May to October yearly.

"Urgent community action to carry out vector control measures, and individuals taking proactive steps to protect against dengue, are thus critical," it said.

The agency added that Town Councils have intensified their control efforts, and increased the number of dengue clusters where drain cleaning is conducted. Twice as many clusters, totalling 213, had their drains cleaned in August compared with the month before.

Similarly, the 37 coordinated foggings carried out in August doubled that of July.

On the whole, 2,052 of 2,392, or about 85 per cent of dengue clusters reported this year, have been closed. About 42 per cent of dengue cases in active clusters reside in HDB estates managed by town councils.

NEA urged residents living in dengue clusters to protect themselves by applying mosquito repellent regularly, wearing long-sleeve tops and long pants, and spraying insecticide in dark corners around the home, such as behind curtains and under beds.

"Such protective measures are important given the surge in dengue cases, high mosquito population, and with more people working from home, which also means more blood meals for the day-biting Aedes mosquito," it said.

 
 
 
 

In addition to ongoing islandwide control efforts, NEA has continued with its dengue inspection and outreach efforts, and has conducted more than 638,000 inspections islandwide in the first eight months of this year.

Together with other government agencies like the Ministry of Education, it has also distributed more than 215,000 bottles of mosquito repellent to households in active dengue cluster areas through house visits up to Tuesday (Sept 1).

NEA said its staff and volunteers will continue to engage residents on weekends in large dengue clusters, having reached out to over 90,000 people since late June.

This year's dengue outbreak has been the largest, with 27,281 cases reported in the first 35 weeks, surpassing the previous high of 22,170 reported in 2013.

As of Aug 5, 20 people aged between 25 and 92 have died of dengue this year.