SINGAPORE: The number of weekly dengue cases in Singapore has remained above 100 since the start of the year, with more than 2,000 cases reported as of Mar 24.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) on Saturday (Mar 25) said there are currently 39 active dengue clusters in Singapore and the risk of dengue transmission “remains high”.
“A contributing factor to the relatively high weekly baseline at the start of 2023 is the high Aedes aegypti mosquito population detected in the community, which is 16 per cent higher than during the same period in February 2022,” NEA said in its news release.
Another reason is the continued prevalence of the previously less common dengue virus serotype (DENV-3), which has been detected in large dengue clusters across Singapore.
“Community exposure, and hence immunity, to DENV-3 is low, despite this serotype being the main driver of last year’s dengue outbreak,” it said.
If left unchecked, the presence of key drivers for dengue transmission may lead to another outbreak this year, it added.
Higher dengue transmission is usually seen in the warmer months from June to October due to the accelerated development of the Aedes mosquito vector and faster multiplication of the dengue virus in mosquitoes.
“As NEA expects a surge in the number of dengue cases in the coming months, it is critical that all residents and stakeholders take immediate action to suppress the Aedes mosquito population and break disease transmission,” it said.
On Saturday, NEA launched its annual National Dengue Prevention Campaign ahead of the traditional peak dengue season.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and the Environment Baey Yam Keng urged members of the public and stakeholders to take urgent collective action to reduce mosquito breeding habitats.
SIX TIMES MORE DENGUE CASES IN 2022 THAN IN 2021
According to NEA, a total of 32,173 dengue cases were reported in 2022, the second-highest annual number after the 35,266 in 2020.
The number of cases reported in 2022 is also six times higher than the previous year.
“In 2022, NEA conducted about 911,000 mosquito inspections islandwide and uncovered about 23,600 mosquito breeding habitats,” NEA said.
“At dengue cluster areas, about 66 per cent of Aedes mosquito breeding detected were in homes, 26 per cent in public areas, and 3 per cent at construction sites.”
NEA also took 11,800 enforcement actions against owners of premises for mosquito breeding, with about 750 fines and 129 stop work orders issued to construction sites. Seventy-five contractors were also charged in court for repeat offences.
To further reduce dengue numbers, NEA urged everyone to maintain good housekeeping and ensure that essential vector control measures are undertaken at all premises under their responsibility.
Residents, especially those residing at dengue cluster areas, are reminded to take steps to protect themselves.
This includes spraying insecticides in dark corners around the house, applying insect repellent regularly and wearing long-sleeve tops and long pants.
Stakeholders should also take immediate action to suppress Aedes mosquito population and break disease transmission. This includes measures such as breaking up hardened soil, lifting and emptying empty flowerpot plates, as well as overturning pails and wiping their rims.