Mosquito breeding in homes: 1,200 enforcement actions taken

The enforcement actions this year come amid a spike in dengue cases, with home owners facing a fine of at least $200 if they are found to be breeding mosquitoes.
The enforcement actions this year come amid a spike in dengue cases, with home owners facing a fine of at least $200 if they are found to be breeding mosquitoes.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

NEA cracks down on offences in households amid surge in Aedes aegypti population

Some 1,200 enforcement actions were taken against households for mosquito breeding from January to June, even as the number of dengue cases has continued to climb.

One of the reasons for the dengue surge is the big jump in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population, said the National Environment Agency (NEA), which is at the forefront of the dengue battle.

The NEA said it carried out more than 442,000 inspections in the first six months of the year and uncovered about 8,200 mosquito-breeding habitats.

The agency said it would not hesitate to take action against anyone responsible for conditions favouring the Aedes mosquito that transmits the dengue virus.

The enforcement actions this year could see home owners facing a fine of at least $200 if they are found to be breeding mosquitoes.

Last year, about 4,700 households were fined for mosquito breeding.

Meanwhile, Singapore has seen a spike in dengue cases this year. Last week, the number of dengue cases in a week hit a 31/2-year high, with 666 cases recorded.

COMMUNITY ACTION NEEDED

We are in the peak dengue season in Singapore, which usually stretches from June to October, and the region is similarly seeing an upsurge of dengue cases this year. Urgent community action is needed to eliminate all potential mosquito-breeding habitats.

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

A total of 7,808 dengue cases have been reported so far this year, about five times more than the number reported in the same period last year.

There are 188 active dengue clusters in Singapore as of Thursday, the NEA said. It also said the largest dengue cluster this year, which was in Woodlands, with a total of 216 reported cases, has closed and is under surveillance.

The cluster was located in Woodlands Avenue 6, Woodlands Circle, Woodlands Crescent, Woodlands Drive 40, 60, 70 and 72.

The NEA said: "We've observed a slowing down in dengue transmission in the past seven weeks at this cluster, with no reported cases in the past two weeks, compared to 27 cases reported in a week when transmission was at its peak."

The rate of dengue transmission has also slowed down at the Chai Chee cluster, which was the third largest dengue cluster.

A total of 130 cases were reported in this cluster as of Thursday. Of these, seven cases were reported in the past two weeks, compared to 26 cases reported in a week during the peak transmission period.

 
 
 

The NEA said residents in these areas still needed to remain vigilant.Other clusters of concern included those in Geylang Road, Jalan Lembah Thomson, Aljunied Road, Pasir Ris Drive 3, Changi Road and Jurong East Avenue 1, the agency said. Most of the mosquito-breeding habitats in these clusters were found in homes.

"We are in the peak dengue season in Singapore, which usually stretches from June to October, and the region is similarly seeing an upsurge of dengue cases this year. Urgent community action is needed to eliminate all potential mosquito-breeding habitats," the NEA said.

The surge in dengue cases is due to three reasons, the agency added.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito population has increased by almost three times since the last major dengue outbreak in 2013, the NEA's Gravitrap surveillance system showed.

Warmer weather and low herd immunity, which refers to a population's resistance to a contagious disease if a sufficiently high proportion of people are immune to it, also contributed to the surge in cases.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2019, with the headline 'Mosquito breeding in homes: 1,200 enforcement actions taken'. Print Edition | Subscribe