Mosquito repellent given to students as number of dengue cases still high

Over 46,000 bottles of mosquito repellent have been distributed to students in 37 schools.
Over 46,000 bottles of mosquito repellent have been distributed to students in 37 schools.PHOTO: NEA

Dengue cases fell by around 20 per cent last week, but weekly numbers remain high, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said yesterday.

It cautioned that while the 1,341 cases last week is more than 400 cases below the peak of 1,792 reported in the third week of July, Singapore is still in the midst of the traditional dengue season from May to October.

There were 1,668 cases in the first week of this month.

The NEA is taking an extra step in larger dengue cluster areas by working with the Ministry of Education to provide mosquito repellent to schools located in these sites.

"This is to further protect the young from getting infected with dengue, and also to get their family members used to taking steps to protect themselves," it said.

More than 46,000 bottles of mosquito repellent have been distributed to students in 37 schools.

The schools have also procured mosquito repellent for use in the classrooms, while students are taught three ways to protect themselves - spraying insecticide in dark corners around the home; applying insect repellent regularly; and donning long-sleeved tops to cover their arms and trousers to cover their legs.

This initiative comes as the number of dengue cases this year reached a record high.

In what appears to be the country's worst dengue outbreak, 25,053 people have contracted the disease this year as of Monday, surpassing the previous full-year high of 22,170 in 2013.

There were 396 active dengue clusters as of Monday.

The largest cluster in the Aljunied-Geylang area has 349 cases, while the Bournemouth Road cluster is the second largest with 309 cases.

 
 
 

But things may be improving. Around 80 per cent - or 1,657 of 2,053 dengue clusters - have been closed since the start of this year.

Some clusters, including the Bukit Panjang Ring Road cluster with 307 cases, have a slower rate of disease transmission. They have had an average of less than one case reported daily over the past two weeks.

The NEA said this is partly owing to the Government's intensified dengue inspection and outreach efforts.

These include deploying volunteers every weekend since the end of June to engage over 73,000 residents in large dengue cluster areas, as well as mass publicity on television and online platforms.

Meanwhile, the NEA continues to call on residents to cooperate with its officers doing inspection rounds, as well as to check for and remove stagnant water in their homes at least once a week.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2020, with the headline 'Mosquito repellent given to students as number of dengue cases still high'. Print Edition | Subscribe