SINGAPORE - Dengue cases have increased over the past four weeks, with 455 seen in the first two weeks of January.
This was thrice the number reported over the same two-week period in January last year, said Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor on Saturday (Jan 19).
Over the past year, dengue cases have climbed as well. There were 3,285 incidents last year, almost 20 per cent more than in 2017.
In a Facebook post, Dr Khor said that higher temperatures and rainfall patterns brought about by climate change may encourage mosquito breeding and worsen the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
Noting that many will be decorating their homes with ornamental plants during the Chinese New Year period, while others may discard large furniture or household items, Dr Khor said such activities can "inadvertently lead to presence of stagnant water and create more breeding spots for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes".
She called for community vigilance and action, encouraging residents to clear stagnant water and prevent mosquito breeding from taking place.
There was an increase in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population detected in the community, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) earlier this month.
NEA's gravitrap surveillance system detected about 40 per cent more Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in December last year, compared to the same month in 2017.
Gravitraps are traps that catch such mosquitoes and collect data on them.
"If left unchecked, the high Aedes aegypti mosquito population may lead to a surge in dengue cases in 2019," NEA added.
According to the NEA, as of Jan 14, there were 54 active dengue clusters. The largest was found in Bedok Reservoir Road and Kaki Bukit Avenue 1.
It added that key to dengue prevention is to eradicate mosquito breeding habitats by their source, and spray insecticides to control the adult mosquito population.
Some precautionary moves include turning pails upside down and flipping flowerpot plates, as well as loosening hardened soil and clearing roof gutters, where insecticide should also be placed.
Those infected with dengue should also apply repellent to prevent mosquitoes from biting and picking up the virus from them, added the agency.