MP among hundreds down with dengue as peak season starts

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Low Yen Ling is also MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC, home to some of the high-risk areas for dengue fever in Singapore. The country is now in its traditional peak dengue season, which lasts from May
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Low Yen Ling is also MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC, home to some of the high-risk areas for dengue fever in Singapore. The country is now in its traditional peak dengue season, which lasts from May till September.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling afflicted as total cases since January exceed 6,900

Senior Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling has come down with dengue fever, placing her among the hundreds of people who contracted the disease in recent days as Singapore enters its peak dengue season.

Ms Low is an MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC, home to some of the high-risk areas for dengue here.

In a Facebook post yesterday, she said she had dengue and that the doctor advised her to "take some time out these few days to rest and recover".

"This incident is another reminder that we are all susceptible to dengue and it's a war we can't fight alone. We need each other, more than ever before - to keep our families and homes safe from dengue," she added.

Singapore has seen a surge in dengue infections this year, with about 300 to 400 new reported cases each week, and over 6,900 cases of dengue fever since January - more than double the same period last year.

The number of cases this year is projected to exceed last year's high of 16,000.

The country is now in its traditional peak dengue season, which lasts from May till September.

The surge in infections ahead of this period was fuelled by factors such as the rise of a less common dengue virus serotype, or strain, as well as warmer temperatures and more rain, which have caused the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito to multiply.

Last week, the National Environment Agency announced that Project Wolbachia, the country's stealth weapon against dengue, would be expanded to Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Batok to suppress the Aedes aegypti mosquito populations in these neighbourhoods.

As part of the programme, male mosquitoes carrying the Wolbachia bacterium are released to mate with female mosquitoes, causing them to lay eggs that do not hatch.

Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Batok were chosen for the study because of their consistently high populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue.

  • 20

    Number of people killed by dengue fever last year. The disease claimed seven lives between January and March this year. Singapore has seen a surge in dengue infections this year, with about 300 to 400 new reported cases each week. The number of cases this year is projected to exceed last year's high of 16,000.

Ms Low, who is Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower, is not the only MP to have been struck by dengue.

Last September, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa fell victim to the disease, and took to Facebook to describe the painful experience of fighting the virus.

Dengue fever, which can cause a very high fever, severe headache and joint and muscle pain, killed 20 people last year. The disease claimed seven lives between January and March this year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2020, with the headline 'MP among hundreds down with dengue as peak season starts'. Print Edition | Subscribe