SINGAPORE: As of last Saturday (Jun 25), 8,900 dengue cases have been reported in the Republic this year, more than twice last year's figure of 4,100 for the same period, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a press release on Thursday.
As Singapore reaches its traditional peak dengue season, the agency added that it is anticipating an upward trend in the number of dengue cases in the coming months.
Last week, 215 dengue cases were reported, 22 more than in the previous week. Five people have died of the disease this year so far – a 47-year-old man who lived in Marsiling Rise, a 67-year-old man who lived in Toa Payoh, a 63-year-old woman who lived in Bedok, a 73-year-old woman who lived in Hougang, and in the latest case, a 79-year-old man who lived in Kaki Bukit.
NEA urged the public to "stay vigilant and continue to work as a community to prevent dengue cases from rising", noting an increase in the Aedes mosquito population and the number of breeding habitats uncovered in the past two months.
"NEA’s Gravitrap data has shown a steady increase in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population in our community in the last two months. Since April, we have observed 50 per cent more Aedes aegypti mosquitoes caught in Gravitraps that have been deployed islandwide," the agency said in its news release.
"The number of Aedes aegypti breeding found in homes during our regular inspections has also seen a 50 per cent increase in the last two months. These indicate an abundance of the mosquito vector in our community."
As a "large proportion" of the population is susceptible to contracting dengue due to the lack of immunity, an increase in the Aedes mosquito population could lead to a surge in dengue cases unless measures are taken to suppress the Aedes mosquito population, NEA said, adding that all stakeholders need to ensure that their premises are free of stagnant water, which could lead to mosquitoes breeding, and step up efforts to stem the transmission of the disease.
The agency said that as of May 31, it had conducted over 544,000 inspections islandwide and destroyed more than 6,800 mosquito breeding sites. Most of the breeding sites were found in homes, especially in domestic containers and flower pots.
"NEA is closely monitoring areas with active transmission of dengue and the transmission patterns. Together with the Inter-Agency Dengue Task Force, as well as all town councils, we have been continuing efforts to rid public areas and housing estates of potential mosquito breeding habitats," it said.
The statutory board is focusing its inspections on areas with a higher potential for dengue transmissions, such as construction sites, and detected mosquito breeding in nine per cent of its 2,900 inspections conducted at construction sites, it said. It has issued more than 290 construction site-related notices to attend court and more than 30 stop work orders, it revealed in the press release.
NEA advised residents living in dengue cluster areas to continue with the use of repellent to lower the risk of contracting dengue, and practice the five-step "Do the Mozzie Wipeout" to prevent mosquito breeding.
Dengue patients should continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites by applying repellent regularly, and those showing symptoms suggestive of dengue should see their doctors early to be diagnosed," the agency said, adding that those planning to go overseas for vacation should mosquito-proof their homes before they travel.