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Dengue cases at four-year high

SINGAPORE — Even as Singapore grapples with the novel coronavirus outbreak, a more familiar public health enemy is back with a vengeance.

The dengue situation has been on the climb since 2019, with the 15,998 reported cases for the whole of that year,  dwarfing the 3,283 in 2018 and 2,773 in 2017.

The dengue situation has been on the climb since 2019, with the 15,998 reported cases for the whole of that year, dwarfing the 3,283 in 2018 and 2,773 in 2017.

SINGAPORE — Even as Singapore grapples with the novel coronavirus outbreak, a more familiar public health enemy is back with a vengeance.

The number of dengue cases in the first six weeks of the year is at its highest since 2016. As of Saturday (Feb 8), 2,130 people have been infected, based on data from the National Environment Agency (NEA).

On a weekly basis, a total of 400 cases of dengue were reported from Feb 2 to 8. For the past five weeks, the figure has ranged between 303 and 404.

NEA’s latest data showed that there were 33 cases on Sunday and 30 cases as of 3pm on Monday.

As of Monday, there were 114 active dengue clusters reported, with the large clusters located on Begonia Drive near Yio Chu Kang, Gangsa Road in Bukit Panjang, Jalan Kembangan, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 and Jurong West Street 91.

The dengue situation has been on the climb since last year, with the 15,998 reported cases for the whole of 2019 dwarfing the 3,283 in 2018 and 2,773 in 2017.

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However, that figure is still lower than the dengue outbreak in 2013, which saw 22,170 infections and eight deaths in Singapore.

So far, there have been no fatalities this year. Two people died from dengue last year.\

NEA said last month that the high number of cases last year could be due to a high Aedes aegypti mosquito population — the primary vector for the disease, as well as warmer weather due to climate change.

“At the same time, a large proportion of our population continues to be susceptible to dengue, given our population’s low immunity and successful vector control efforts over the years,” it said.

STRAIN HAS NOT BEEN DOMINANT IN 30 YEARS

Based on cases and clusters last month, NEA had previously noted a resurgence of a strain of dengue which has not been dominant in Singapore in three decades: The dengue-3 serotype (DenV-3).  

NEA said in January: “Singapore has not seen a DenV-3 outbreak in the last three decades, the population immunity for DenV-3 is low and therefore more susceptible to transmission of the virus. It is thus critical that all residents and stakeholders work closely together with NEA to break the dengue transmission in these clusters, and curtail the spread of the virus.”

The predominant dengue virus strain in Singapore since 2016 is dengue-2 serotype (DenV-2). There are four strains of dengue in existence globally.

In its latest update on its website, NEA said that a combination of the high Aedes aegypti mosquito population, the current high number of dengue cases, as well as an uptick in DenV-3 infections, could lead to weekly dengue cases rising above current levels in 2020.

The agency reiterated: “Concerted community action and sustained mosquito control efforts are thus needed, to prevent further escalation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito population, and an increase in the number of people becoming ill with dengue.”

Related topics

dengue National Environment Agency Aedes mosquito health

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