Three die from dengue fever in Jurong West

A poster put up by NEA warning about dengue, at Block 946 Jurong West Street 91, where all three victims lived.
A poster put up by NEA warning about dengue, at Block 946 Jurong West Street 91, where all three victims lived.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

Victims are a man, 41, and two women aged 63 and 68; dengue death toll at 4 so far this year

Three people who lived in an active and high-risk dengue cluster in Jurong West have died from the disease, bringing its national death toll to four this year.

In a joint statement, the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday that two of the victims died on Thursday at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

One of them, a 41-year-old Singaporean man, was admitted on April 29 but his condition deteriorated. The other was a 63-year-old Singaporean woman who died two days after being admitted to the hospital.

Another victim, a 68-year-old Singaporean woman, died on April 13 while she was overseas, after contracting dengue here.

Ms Sharon Loh, who lives in the same block as the 63-year-old woman, said she was very strong and healthy. "One day, she was in the hospital, and the next, she has passed on," said the factory worker, who is in her 60s and lives at Block 948, Jurong West Street 91.

MOH and NEA said 60 cases have been reported since April 3 in the largest dengue cluster so far this year at Jurong West Streets 91 and 92, where all three victims lived, with 32 cases reported in the last two weeks alone.

The blocks in this cluster are Blocks 933, 940, 943, 945, 946, 947, 948, 949, 950 and 952 in Street 91 and Blocks 920 and 928 in Street 92.

Although the number of reported cases in Singapore has steadily increased since mid-March - hitting 64 between April 29 and May 4-it is poised to stay low this year. Last year, 2,772 infections were reported, the lowest in 16 years.

Expressing their deepest condolences to the families of the deceased, MOH and NEA added: "We are currently investigating the factors that may have contributed to the severe cases in the cluster."

Since April 3, NEA has deployed 80 officers to check and destroy mosquito breeding in the area, among other action taken. A total of 117 breeding habitats were detected as of Thursday, including 82 found in residential premises in common places such as flower bowls. Some had very high larvae counts of up to 200.

Another 35 breeding habitats were found in ground puddles, gully traps and scupper drains. No construction site-related mosquito breeding were found in the area.

NEA has also brought in 60 more officers to augment ongoing outreach efforts in the Jurong West dengue cluster. MP of Chua Chu Kang GRC Yee Chia Hsing told The Sunday Times: "Upon learning of the two recent dengue-related fatalities yesterday, we called for a meeting with the Housing Board, NEA, town council and some of the grassroots members."

In the coming week, NEA could force its way into flats if the owners have been uncontactable, he said.

Residents have been encouraged to allow NEA officers to carry out indoor spraying of their homes to kill infected mosquitoes and use insect repellent when outdoors and spray insecticides in dark corners of homes. Those showing symptoms suggestive of dengue fever are advised to see a doctor immediately.

  • 60

    Number of cases reported since April 3 in the largest dengue cluster so far this year at Jurong West Streets 91 and 92, where all three victims lived.

    117

    Total number of breeding habitats detected as of May 3 in the area.

    82

    Number of breeding habitats as found in residential premises, in common places such as flower bowls.

Mr Yee encourages residents to do blood tests for dengue at the 24-hour Acute Care Clinic, as some GPs may not be able to take blood tests.

Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever for two to seven days, severe headaches with pain behind the eye, joint and muscle pain, skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, bleeding from the nose or gums, or easy bruising in the skin.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 06, 2018, with the headline 'Three die from dengue fever in Jurong West'. Print Edition | Subscribe