There has been a worrying spike in the number of dengue cases over the first three months of 2019 – and with peak dengue season approaching soon, the numbers are only expected to rise.
Compared to the same period during the previous year, the number of dengue cases have increased by more than three fold with 2,000 cases being reported, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a statement released on Sunday (April 7). There were only about 600 cases from January to March in 2018.
Citing Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Masagos Zulkifli, The Straits Times reported that three people have died from dengue-related deaths this year. There was one death during the same period last year.
Even though the total number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have decreased by seven per cent from March 2018 to March 2019, NEA found that their Gravitrap surveillance system still records a high population of mosquitoes.
These Gavitraps are designed to attract and trap female Aedes mosquitoes looking for places to lay their eggs – they prevent these female mosquitoes from biting other people, and the emergence of mosquitoes from the eggs laid inside.
Due to the incoming warmer months of June to October, NEA is expecting an increase in dengue cases due to the accelerated development of the Aedes mosquito and a shorter incubation period of the dengue virus.
Speaking at the main launch of the National Dengue Prevention Campaign 2019, Masagos Zulkifli called for a concerted effort to step up dengue prevention efforts, and to keep dengue transmission under control in the run up to the peak dengue season.
Currently, NEA has deployed approximately 50,000 Gravitraps islandwide.
NEA said that it removed 21 per cent more breeding habitats of mosquitoes last year when compared to in 2017 thanks to the Gavitraps.
About 14,000 Gravitraps will be progressively deployed across the island this year at newly completed HDB blocks, and along common corridors of residential premises, it added.
Additionally, NEA has embarked on the phase three field study of Project Wolbachia – Singapore where they will determine if the suppression of the urban Aedes aegypti mosquito population can be sustained in larger areas.
During phase two, NEA reported that field studies in Nee Soon East and Tampines West found that the Aedes mosquito population decreased by 80 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.
In a statement, NEA said that while they will continue to conduct inspections on areas with high potential for breeding and carry on experimenting with Wolbachia technology, but added that keeping the aedes mosquito population in check requires the combined effort of every member of the community.
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