Fall in number of dengue clusters, but weekly cases remain high: NEA

A pest-control officer carrying out misting in the premises of Eastvale Condominium on Aug 5, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - More than 80 per cent or 854 of the 1,013 dengue clusters identified since the start of the year are no longer classified as hot spots, the National Environment Agency said in a statement on Friday (Aug 23).

These include some of the largest clusters such as those in Woodlands, Upper Thomson, Chai Chee and Pasir Ris.

But NEA said there has been no let-up in the battle against the dreaded disease.

The agency said: "Even as clusters are progressively closed, we still have some rather persistent clusters, such as at Aljunied Road and Changi Road, as well as newer clusters being formed in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 2 and 4 and Jalan Eunos."

The number of weekly dengue cases has also remained "persistently high at above 500".

Figures on the NEA website showed there were 525 dengue cases in the second week of August, which is approximately 20 per cent fewer than the 664 cases in the second week of July.

The number of active clusters also fell from 190 earlier this month (Aug 2) to 159 as of Thursday (Aug 22).

"Over the past six months, NEA has been working intensively with key stakeholders from various government agencies in the Inter-Agency Dengue Task Force (IADTF), town councils, construction site management, community partners and residents to strengthen our collective efforts in the fight against dengue," said NEA.

NEA has employed the Gravitrap - a surveillance system that tracks the mosquito population in an area by capturing female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and their eggs - in the fight against dengue.

Gravitrap helped remove 21 per cent more mosquito breeding areas in 2018 compared to the previous year.

The data collected from the system has been used to help all those involved in the campaign against the disease, such as town councils, to prioritise their dengue prevention and control measures by focusing on areas with higher numbers of mosquitoes.

Such measures include stepping up the cleaning of drains and removing discarded receptacles to prevent chokes and stagnant water.

Gravitrap has been deployed since 2017 and an estimated 64,000 of them would be in place across the island by the end of this year, NEA said.

From Friday (Aug 23), members of the public can access information gathered by the system to identify areas with relatively higher numbers of Aedes aegypti adult mosquitoes in their neighbourhood. They can do so at www.nea.gov.sg/dengue-zika/Aedes.

"We hope that the sharing of information on areas with relatively higher mosquito populations will serve as a useful lead indicator for our stakeholders to take pre-emptive measures in reducing potential mosquito breeding habitats, thus lowering the risk of dengue transmission and future clusters from being formed," said Mr Chew Ming Fai, NEA's director-general of public health.

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