NEA calls for urgent community action as yearly dengue figures set to exceed 2019's 16,000 cases

The total number of dengue cases this year as of mid-April is close to 5,800. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - With the total number of local dengue cases this year as of mid-April already more than double that a year ago, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has called for urgent community action to fight dengue.

In a statement on Monday (April 20), the NEA said this can be done by suppressing the Aedes mosquito population, even as the country deals with the Covid-19 outbreak.

The total number of dengue cases this year as of mid-April is close to 5,800, and with the usual peak period from May to September approaching, the 2020 dengue figure is projected to exceed 2019's 16,000 cases.

"Even in the midst of the current (Covid-19) situation, close attention should be paid to good housekeeping, as well as proper upkeep and maintenance of premises and common properties, to prevent mosquito breeding and break the transmission chain of dengue," the NEA said.

The agency said that dengue continues to be a public health concern, with weekly dengue cases being high and hovering around 300 to 400 cases.

Five people, aged between 60 and 80, have died from dengue so far this year, while 21 deaths were reported in 2019.

The NEA advised those working from home to pay more attention to mosquito breeding sites at home and ensure these sites are removed. It has found a 50 per cent increase in Aedes mosquito larval breeding sites found in homes over the last three years, compared with the three years before.

It urged the public to frequently check for common potential mosquito breeding habitats, such as pails, dish trays, flower pot plates, vases, and ornamental containers. Clean and stagnant water in homes, even in small amounts such as the size of a 20-cent coin, can be potential mosquito breeding habitats.

Homeowners of landed houses should also check roof gutters and drains in their properties for potential mosquito breeding sites.

Within homes, NEA advised spraying aerosol insecticide in dark corners, such as under the bed, behind the cupboard, and in the toilet.

The agency will be stepping up its inspections of common properties such as drains and construction sites. The operators of these construction sites will continue to be responsible to ensure control measures are taken at all times.

Despite the increased demands on the cleaning sector during the coronavirus outbreak, NEA said that it has worked with its cleaning service providers and town councils to ensure that cleaning of higher footfall areas and flushing of drains are not compromised, and even stepped up where necessary.

Even with the closure of businesses during the circuit breaker period, NEA said that owners of premises and work sites still need to ensure that adequate control measures are taken at all their premises.

NEA issued advisories to the Singapore Contractors Association on April 3 to remind construction site operators to ensure proper upkeep of their sites to prevent mosquito breeding habitats.

More updates on the dengue outbreak in Singapore can be found on the NEA website, Stop Dengue Now Facebook page, and myENV app.

"All stakeholders, including residents, contractors, and business owners, have a part to play in preventing dengue," NEA said.

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