Dengue cases remain high, with 656 so far this week

DENGUE fever cases have remained high this week, with 656 people diagnosed with the disease till 3pm yesterday.

The total for this week is on course to be around those of the previous two, when cases hit 815 in the week beginning June 2 and 810 the week after.

However, it is unlikely that the figure will pass 1,000 cases this week. Experts have predicted that this is likely to happen before the epidemic is over.

The National Environment Agency has quashed talk that the haze could stem the spread of dengue, saying there is no link between the two. In fact, a spokesman said, "although a haze blanketed much of South-east Asia from late 1997 to early 1998, the number of dengue cases in Singapore during these years was the highest recorded in the 1990s".

There are now more than 60 active clusters. The biggest is still at Tampines. There have been more than 190 cases there in one cluster alone.

The mosquito-borne virus appears to be spreading from eastern Singapore to the rest of the country. There are also large clusters of more than 60 cases within close proximity in Yishun in the north, and Lake Point and Choa Chu Kang in the west.

By 3pm yesterday, there had been 10,764 cases here this year, with two deaths.

The two biggest previous dengue epidemics were in 2005, when 14,209 people were infected and 25 died, and in 2007, when 8,826 fell ill and 24 died.

There are at least two months left of ideal dengue weather - hot and wet - when the Aedes mosquito breeds faster and is able to transmit the virus for a longer period.

Symptoms of the disease include a sudden onset of fever, headache, muscular and joint aches, nausea and vomiting.

Anyone suffering these symptoms is advised to seek medical help to prevent the infection taking on a more severe form, such as dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome.

More than 40 people have been diagnosed with dengue haemorrhagic fever so far this year.

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