Turnaround in dengue situation but public urged not to drop their guard

Workers clearing the drains in Serangoon Gardens last month as part of the efforts to fight dengue. Singapore saw a 13-week downward trend in the number of reported dengue cases until the week ending Oct 12, but the NEA urged continued vigilance due
Workers clearing the drains in Serangoon Gardens last month as part of the efforts to fight dengue. Singapore saw a 13-week downward trend in the number of reported dengue cases until the week ending Oct 12, but the NEA urged continued vigilance due to a slight uptick in cases last week.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The worst may be over for Singapore's dengue situation this year, based on figures released by the National Environment Agency (NEA) yesterday.

But a slight uptick in cases last week has led the authorities to urge continued vigilance to keep infection rates from rising again.

Singapore saw a 13-week downward trend in the number of reported dengue cases from the week ending July 19 to the week ending Oct 12, when the number of cases fell to 229, less than half of the peak of 664 seen in the second week of July.

The NEA said this suggests that Singapore has passed the high disease transmission period seen in July and August this year.

It added that 1,192 of the 1,267 dengue clusters reported since the start of the year have been closed as of last Saturday.

Singapore is coming to the end of its traditional peak season for dengue, which lasts from June to October. During these months, the warm weather shortens the breeding cycle of mosquitoes.

Together with stakeholders' efforts, the end of the season contributed to the fall in dengue cases, said the agency.

 
 
 
 

But the public should not drop their guard, it added. Last week, the number of reported cases rose slightly to 239.

"Vigilance must be maintained as historical data shows the possibility of another rise in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population at the end of the year.

"If left unchecked, the mosquito population rise could once again increase the risk of dengue transmission," said the NEA.

A total of 13,079 dengue cases were reported as of last Saturday, the highest number in three years.

As of Monday, the largest den-gue cluster was located in Choa Chu Kang.

The NEA reminded the public to take steps to prevent dengue, including turning over pails and flowerpot plates, loosening hardened soil, and clearing roof gutters and placing insecticide inside.

Those infected with dengue should protect themselves from further mosquito bites by applying mosquito repellent regularly, added the agency.

It also advised those feeling unwell and showing symptoms suggestive of dengue to seek medical attention early.

The symptoms of dengue include a sudden onset of fever for two to seven days, severe headache with pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, skin rash, nausea and vomiting, bleeding from the nose or gums and easy bruising of the skin.

The NEA said: "We would like to thank our community partners and residents for their strong support, and for doing their part to keep their homes and premises free from mosquito breeding habitats."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2019, with the headline 'Turnaround in dengue situation but public urged not to drop their guard'. Print Edition | Subscribe