Dengue prevention measures stepped up in Jurong West

Mr Kok Choy Sing (left), a 68-year-old retiree, received bamboo pole covers and insect repellent from MP Yee Chia Hsing last night at the void deck of Block 953 Jurong West Street 91.
Mr Kok Choy Sing (left), a 68-year-old retiree, received bamboo pole covers and insect repellent from MP Yee Chia Hsing last night at the void deck of Block 953 Jurong West Street 91.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Prevention measures are being stepped up in Jurong West after three deaths from dengue fever were recorded in the space of three weeks.

Chua Chu Kang Town Council, along with National Environment Agency (NEA) officers and grassroots members, handed out bamboo pole covers, mosquito repellent and information booklets at the void deck of Block 953 in Jurong West Street 91 last night.

"During our routine walks and spot checks of the Jurong West cluster, we noticed that quite a number of households did not use bamboo pole covers," the MP for the area, Mr Yee Chia Hsing, told The Straits Times, referring to the covers that go on the end of hollow clothes pole holders - which could provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

"We have definitely stepped up our efforts in light of the recent dengue-related deaths. This additional outreach effort is one example - we felt that by situating ourselves at the blocks in the evening, we could target those coming back home from work, as well as address the issue of bamboo pole covers."

A 68-year-old woman died from dengue fever on April 13, followed by a 41-year-old man and a 63-year-old woman on May 3. All three were Singaporeans.

Besides additional outreach efforts, Mr Yee said that his home visits, supported by grassroots members and the Chua Chu Kang Town Council, have also increased in frequency. They give out insect repellent and dengue information booklets, and educate residents on how to prevent stagnant water from collecting, ST understands.

"We are optimistic that this will be temporary, and that the situation will stabilise soon," he added.

Ms Angeline Tan, a 38-year-old purchaser who lives in the cluster, said: "The Town Council and NEA has done a lot. Whether or not things will improve depends a lot on the residents here being responsible, and ensuring that they are not breeding dengue."

As of Monday, a total of 126 breeding habitats had been detected in the Jurong West cluster, including 87 in residential premises - such as in flower bowls, vases and pails - while 39 were found in puddles, traps and drains, the NEA said. No construction site-related mosquito breeding sites were found.

NEA officers have continued with stepped-up inspections and outreach efforts in the area, in view of the ongoing transmission.

"The residents that we have visited express that they do feel assured in spite of recent events, because of the sheer number of officers NEA has deployed to inspect the area," Mr Yee said.

There are currently four other active dengue clusters, according to the NEA website.

Bedok North Street 3 and Cashew Crescent are both on red alert for having more than 10 cases, while Bukit Batok West Avenue 2 and Hemmant Road are on yellow for having fewer than 10.

There has been a total of 41 reported dengue cases in the past week.

Ms Ashley Teo, a 19-year-old student who lives in the Cashew Crescent area, said: "When Cashew Crescent was still on yellow alert, I remember NEA visiting my house a couple of times, and examining our potted plants for breeding sites.

"They've been quite thorough in their preventive measures, so I'm not that worried."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2018, with the headline 'Dengue prevention measures stepped up in Jurong West'. Print Edition | Subscribe