Singapore has had over 5 times more dengue cases this year than last year – and it could surge further through the end of year

The Straits Times

Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) is urging households to “mosquito-proof” their homes, after the number of reported dengue cases surged more than five fold from last year.

In a release dated November 27, NEA said that as of November 23, the total number of dengue cases reported in 2019 – 14,658 – had already exceeded the number of cases reported in the same period last year by five-and-a-half times.

At the moment, the number remains lower than in 2013, when 22,170 cases were recorded for the entire year.

In addition, the number of dengue cases in Singapore has steadily increased over a five-week period from October 13 to November 16, before declining again from November 17 to 23.

Among the reasons for the spike in October is a 32 per cent increase in the Aedes aegypti adult mosquito population from the month before, NEA said.

Furthermore, there was also 55 per cent increase in the detection rate of Aedes aegypti larval habitats found in homes in October compared to in September 2019.

This year-end increase is not unusual, and was also observed in 2013 and 2015, when the surge in cases continued into the new year. As such, there is a possibility that the number of dengue cases might continue to rise further this year, NEA said.

As of November 26, there were 76 active dengue clusters reported, and most were found in homes. The five largest clusters are at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 2, Elias Road, Jalan Bangau, Jurong West Street 61, and Begonia Lane, NEA said.

Why you should check your homes

According to the authority, various stakeholders, including Town Councils, have been provided Gravitrap surveillance data to help with dengue prevention and control measures.

“As the travel season approaches, we urge all families who are planning to go on vacation to mosquito-proof their homes before they travel,” NEA said.

“We urge everyone to take immediate action to eliminate potential mosquito breeding habitats, and join in the collective effort to stop dengue transmission,” it said.

As the Aedes aegypti mosquito has adapted well to the urban environment, NEA said it was critical to eradicate mosquito breeding habitats and adult mosquitoes. The authority also said that adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes tend to rest inside homes, so it is important that all homes within a cluster area are inspected as quickly as possible.

“All residents living in dengue cluster areas are strongly encouraged to cooperate with NEA officers, and to facilitate their checks and indoor misting in their homes,” it added.

Residents living in dengue cluster areas should also protect themselves, by applying mosquito repellent regularly and keeping their homes free of stagnant water.

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