SINGAPORE: Town councils in Singapore are adopting a "proactive approach" by intensifying cleaning, inspection and education efforts within estates as dengue infection rates continue to climb.
According to data from the National Environment Agency (NEA), Singapore recorded the highest number of weekly dengue cases last week at 1,158 infections, a 33 per cent increase from the previous week.
Three town councils that CNA spoke to said that they have stepped up safety measures in areas where breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito tends to occur.
Pest control contractors are carrying out weekly “search and destroy” operations in Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council’s estates and in areas where stagnant water bodies cannot be removed, liquid larvicide is added twice weekly to prevent breeding.
“Our conservancy contractors also step up the cleansing regime to remove water bearing discarded receptacles daily, desilting of all drains and ensure that it is free from chokages and stagnant water,” it added.
For active dengue clusters, the town council said it is carrying out additional measures such as misting ground floors of housing blocks and surrounding areas to eradicate the mosquitoes.
Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council said grassroots organisations are also "regularly updated on the dengue situation ... during their monthly meetings with (the) town council and NEA".
“With this information, grassroots leaders can help to advise and remind the residents on the ground accordingly," it added.
Nee Soon Town Council said that it is conducting scheduled oiling treatments to drains, checks on potential water ponding spots and clearing of stagnant water daily.
“As the safety of our residents is of paramount importance to us, the town council has since intensified our inspections around Tampines Town - from checking of drains to the roof tops - to identify and remove any potential breeding mosquito habitats,” said Tampines Town Council.
Tampines and Yishun are also successful test sites for NEA’s Project Wolbochia, which involves the release of specially bred mosquitoes to fight dengue. According to NEA, more than 90 per cent of the urban Aedes mosquito population has been suppressed in these areas.
“We understand from NEA that the results have been positive and will be expanded to more areas in Nee Soon,” said Nee Soon Town Council.
READ: Wolbachia mosquito field test ‘successful’, project expanded to dengue high-risk areas in Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok
The total number of infections for this year as of 3pm on Tuesday (Jun 16) was 11,392.
With Singapore just entering the traditional dengue peak months - from June to October - NEA said that it is possible that the total number of infections this year "is expected to be similar to or exceed the 22,170 cases reported in 2013, the largest dengue outbreak in Singapore’s history".
FIGHT AGAINST DENGUE A ‘COLLECTIVE EFFORT’
Town councils that CNA spoke to have also ramped up education efforts within estates. Dengue prevention messages are displayed on notice boards, digital display screens at lifts and the town councils’ social media platforms.
“The fight against dengue is a collective effort between the town council and residents,” said Tampines Town Council.
It also urged residents to remain vigilant to “protect their loved ones from dengue".
“We trust that education is important. We regularly remind residents to carry out the 5-Step Mozzie Wipeout through posters at the notice boards and social media sharing,” said Nee Soon Town Council.
“We have also recently rolled a new series of messaging through our Nanas and Squish mascots,” it added.
“Through the collective approach with our partners and community, we hope to keep dengue cases in Nee Soon to the minimum,” said the town council.
As of Monday, there are 211 active dengue clusters in Singapore including in Woodleigh Close, Leicester Road, Tampines Avenue 7, Chu Lin Road in Hillview and Aljunied Road areas.