SINGAPORE - Dengue cases fell by around 20 per cent last week, but weekly numbers remain high, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Tuesday (Aug 18).
While the 1,341 cases last week is more than 400 cases below the peak of 1,792 reported in the third week of July, the agency cautioned that Singapore is still in the midst of the traditional dengue season from May to October.
There were 1,668 cases in the first week of August.
The NEA is taking an extra step in larger dengue cluster areas by working with the Ministry of Education to provide mosquito repellent to schools located in these sites.
"This is to further protect the young from getting infected with dengue, and also to get their family members used to taking steps to protect themselves," the NEA said.
Over 46,000 bottles of mosquito repellent have been distributed to students in 37 schools.
The schools have also procured mosquito repellent for use in the classrooms, and students are being taught three ways to protect themselves - by spraying insecticide in dark corners around the home, applying insect repellent regularly, and by donning sleeves to cover their arms and trousers to cover their legs.
This initiative comes as the number of dengue cases this year reached a record high.
In what appears to be the country's worst outbreak in history, 25,053 people have contracted dengue as of Monday, surpassing the previous full-year high of 22,170 in 2013.
There were 396 active dengue clusters as of Monday. The largest cluster in the Aljunied-Geylang area has 349 cases while the Bournemouth Road cluster is the second largest with 309 cases.
But things may be improving. Around 80 per cent - or 1,657 of 2,053 dengue clusters - have been closed since the start of this year.
Some clusters, including the Bukit Panjang Ring Road cluster with 307 cases, have a slower rate of disease transmission with an average of less than one case reported daily over the past two weeks.
The NEA said this is partly due to the Government's intensified dengue inspection and outreach efforts.
These include deploying volunteers every weekend since end-June to engage over 73,000 residents in large dengue cluster areas as well as mass publicity on television and online platforms.
Meanwhile, the agency continues to call on residents to apply mosquito repellent if they are heading to a dengue cluster area. They should reapply repellent if they plan to be out for a long period.
They are also urging residents to cooperate with NEA officers doing inspection rounds, as well as check for and remove stagnant water in their homes at least once a week.