379 dengue cases recorded last week, highest since March 2016: NEA

379 dengue cases recorded last week, highest since March 2016: NEA

FILE PHOTO: Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in Campinas
FILE PHOTO: Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in Campinas, Brazil, on February 2, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File Photo

SINGAPORE: There were 379 dengue cases recorded last week, which is the highest weekly number since March 2016, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in an advisory on Saturday (Jun 1).

"The number of weekly reported dengue cases have been on an upward trend, and have more than tripled in the past nine weeks. We have not seen such a high weekly number since March 2016," NEA said.

The agency also added that the peak dengue season has set in.

As of last Saturday, a total of 3,918 dengue cases have been reported in 2019, according to NEA. This is more than three times reported in the same period last year, when there were 1,058 cases, it added.

"The current upward trend coincides with the start of the warmer months from June to October, where we usually experience a higher number of dengue cases," NEA said. 

Last month, NEA said that the number of dengue cases recorded in 2019 so far has surpassed the total number of cases in 2018.

On Wednesday, a 63-year-old man became the fourth person to die from dengue this year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and NEA said.

READ: 63-year-old man dies from dengue in 4th death this year

READ: Number of dengue cases in 2019 surpasses last year's total count

NEA dengue chart
(Graph: NEA)

NEA STEPS UP ON CHECKS, TAKE ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

NEA said it stepped up on checks in the lead up to the peak dengue season. 

In April, a surveillance system deployed by NEA showed a 25 per cent increase in the Aedes mosquito population as compared to the previous month.

NEA also said about 60 per cent of breeding habitats it detected between January and March were found in residential premises.

During this period, more than 200,000 inspections were conducted, including about 1,800 that were carried out at construction sites. NEA said it uncovered about 2,900 mosquito breeding habitats during those checks. 

Enforcement actions were also taken as part of efforts to stem mosquito breeding and dengue. 

More than 600 households have been fined for mosquito breeding as of March, NEA said. 

About 70 notices to attend court and seven stop work orders were also issued to construction sites. Three court prosecutions were made against contractors for repeated offences, NEA said.

"As we are in the traditional dengue peak season, community action is urgently needed to bring down the Aedes mosquito population, and prevent more people from being infected with the dengue virus," NEA said. 

It added: "We urge all residents living in dengue cluster areas to cooperate with NEA officers and facilitate their checks and indoor spraying of their homes."

The public can help to stem dengue transmission by removing stagnant water through ways like inverting pails and changing the water in vases regularly, NEA said. 

READ: More than 2,000 dengue cases reported in first quarter

READ: Wolbachia mosquitoes to be released at expanded Nee Soon, Tampines sites in next phase of study

Those infected with dengue should protect themselves from mosquito bites by applying repellent regularly, and those showing symptoms suggestive of dengue should see their General Practitioners early to be diagnosed, it added.

In January, NEA said more than 140 blocks of Housing Board flats in Nee Soon East and Tampines West would participate in the next phase of the Wolbachia mosquito project to reduce the Aedes mosquito population and fight dengue.

Under the project, male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes, which have been infected with the Wolbachia bacterium were released into test sites. When they mate with female Aedes mosquitoes, the eggs the females lay will not hatch.

As of Monday, there were 72 active dengue clusters, with the five largest clusters located at:

  • Woodlands Avenue 6/Woodlands Circle/Woodlands Crescent/Woodlands Drive 60/Woodlands Drive 72
  • Woodlands Avenue 6/Woodlands Drive 62/Woodlands Drive 73/Woodlands Drive 75/Woodlands Ring Road
  • Chai Chee Avenue/Chai Chee Drive/Chai Chee Lane/Chai Chee Road/Chai Chee Street
  • Geylang Road/Guillemard Road/Lorong 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23 Geylang/Sims Avenue/Westerhout Road
  • Bedok Reservoir Road/Foo Kim Lin Road/Jalan Eunos/Jalan Punai/Jalan Rimau/Jalan Singa/Teo Kim Eng Road
Source: CNA/aa

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