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Almost 5,500 dengue cases reported in Singapore so far this year, exceeding last year's total

Almost 5,500 dengue cases reported in Singapore so far this year, exceeding last year's total

Workers wearing face masks fumigate a construction site to prevent the spread of dengue fever in Singapore on Apr 17, 2020. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Almost 5,500 cases of dengue have been reported so far this year, already exceeding last year's total. 

"This is a worrying trend as we are only in April, and we expect a surge in the number of dengue cases in the coming months," said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu on Sunday (Apr 24). 

Speaking at the launch of the Public Hygiene Council's Keep Clean, Singapore! event, Ms Fu urged "urgent collective action" to prevent mosquito breeding. 

This includes binning one's trash to prevent it from becoming unintentional mosquito breeding habitats, Ms Fu said. 

"Dengue is a serious health threat. Let us stay on guard against dengue even as we see improvements in the COVID-19 situation," she added. 

Experts attribute the current spike in dengue cases to a number of factors, the most notable being a rise in mosquito numbers and the re-emergence of a previously uncommon virus serotype. 

Earlier this month, the National Environmental Agency (NEA) said that the Aedes aegypti mosquito population in the community was about 48 per cent higher in March this year compared to the same period in 2021. 

Inspections have also found that Aedes mosquito breeding has almost doubled from February to March this year, NEA said in response to queries from CNA. 

In addition to higher mosquito numbers, the previously uncommon dengue virus serotype 3 (DENV-3) is now widely circulating. 

An infectious diseases expert told CNA that the "increased circulation" of the DEN-3 serotype would have meant less immunity within the community.

At the event, Ms Fu spoke about the need to reframe the mindset that the home ends at one's doorstep.

"The whole of Singapore is our home," she said. "When we are out and about in our community, we should always bin our trash to prevent it from becoming unintentional mosquito breeding habitats."

Source: CNA/vc(ac)
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