MP Low Yen Ling down with dengue fever as Singapore enters peak season for the disease

Ms Low Yen Ling is an MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC, one of the high-risk areas for dengue in Singapore. PHOTO: LOW YEN LING/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Low Yen Ling has come down with dengue fever, placing her among the hundreds of people who have fallen ill in recent days as Singapore enters its peak season for the disease.

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

She said in a Facebook post on Monday (May 11) morning: "As I have just come down with dengue fever, please bear with me if my email response is delayed. Doctor has advised me 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."

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, 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 in an effort to suppress the Aedes aegypti mosquito population in these neighbourhoods.

Singapore has been studying this programme since 2012. As part of the project, 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.

Ms Low is not the only MP to have been struck by dengue. Last September, Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) fell victim to the disease too, taking 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.

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