SINGAPORE – The National Environment Agency (NEA) has reported a significant resurgence in local dengue infections in Singapore, with a total of six deaths recorded in 2023.
The latest quarterly report released by the NEA reveals alarming statistics, prompting authorities to implement urgent measures to curb the outbreak.
According to the NEA’s report, there were three reported deaths attributed to local dengue infections from October to December 2023. This brings the total number of fatalities for the year to six, raising concerns about the impact of the ongoing outbreak.
The NEA’s data also indicates that a total of 2,546 cases were reported in the fourth quarter, marking a 16.6 percent decrease compared to the previous three months.
The year 2022 witnessed a staggering 19 dengue-related deaths in Singapore, with a total of 32,325 reported cases – the second-highest number in a year on record. In 2021, five dengue deaths were recorded
The NEA website indicates that the trend continued from last year, with 305 cases reported between 31 December 2023, and 6 January 2024, followed by 395 cases between 7 January and 13 January.
Local dengue cases have been on the rise for the seventh consecutive week, with 410 cases reported from 14 January to 20 January.
From 21 January to 3 pm on 22 January, an additional 70 cases were reported, bringing the total number of cases reported in January to 1,180. This surpasses the January numbers of the past three years.
Currently, there are over 80 active dengue clusters, with 19 classified as high-risk areas having ten or more cases each.
Areas such as Boon Lay, Pasir Ris, and Ang Mo Kio are among those identified as high-risk. The largest cluster, Boon Lay Place, has reported 216 cases, followed by 119 in the Pasir Ris Street 71 cluster. The Jalan Chegar cluster at Upper Thomson continues to experience persistent dengue transmission.
Dengue, a mosquito-borne viral infection, typically peaks between June and October due to warmer weather, faster multiplication of the virus in mosquitoes, and accelerated mosquito development.
The NEA had previously warned of the potential for a high number of dengue cases this year, attributing it to warmer weather caused by El Nino – a climate pattern associated with the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and the Environment Baey Yam Keng stated last October that the warmer weather resulting from El Nino could extend the usual dengue peak period that falls between July and October, making it more conducive for mosquitoes to breed.
Contrary to expectations, experts suggested that the wet weather in January might lead to a drop in dengue cases, as heavy rain could cause a flushing effect, washing away mosquito larvae. However, the latest data indicates a surge in cases, prompting concerns among health officials.
NEA has urged residents living in areas with dengue clusters to actively participate in efforts to stop dengue transmission.
Cooperation with NEA officers during property inspections for mosquito larvae has been emphasized as a crucial step in controlling the outbreak. The public is advised to use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved clothing, and spray insecticide in dark corners of their homes.
The agency highlighted that four dengue virus serotypes are circulating in Singapore, with Dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) being predominant since September 2023, following periodic dominance by DENV-1 and DENV-3 in 2023.
The population’s immunity to all four serotypes remains low, emphasizing the importance of protective measures against Aedes mosquitoes.
NEA also reported identifying 308 clusters from October to December, with 269 of them closed in the same period. This represents a six percent increase in the number of clusters compared to the previous quarter.
Additionally, 5,200 mosquito breeding habitats were detected during the same period, marking a 15 percent increase from the previous quarter.
The top five breeding habitats in homes identified by NEA include domestic containers (pails), flowerpot plates and trays, ornamental containers (vases), canvas or plastic sheets, and refuse bins placed outside landed houses.
In public areas, the top five breeding habitats are covered parameter drains, discarded receptacles, gully traps, domestic containers like pails, and puddles from depressions in the ground.
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