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No new dengue cases in Singapore's largest cluster at Woodlands, but it is still under surveillance

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s largest dengue cluster, in Woodlands, has been marked “closed” by the National Environment Agency (NEA) since no new cases have been reported there in the past two weeks.

No new cases of dengue have been reported in the last two weeks in what was Singapore's worst dengue cluster, in Woodlands.

No new cases of dengue have been reported in the last two weeks in what was Singapore's worst dengue cluster, in Woodlands.

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SINGAPORE — Singapore’s largest dengue cluster, in Woodlands, has been marked “closed” by the National Environment Agency (NEA) since no new cases have been reported there in the past two weeks.

However, the NEA stressed in a statement on Friday (July 19) that the area is still under surveillance, and that there are still 188 active dengue clusters across the island.

The agency said that there has been a slowdown in dengue transmission in the past seven weeks in the Woodlands cluster — which has seen a total of 216 reported cases. When transmission was at its peak, 27 cases were reported there in a week.

The Woodlands cluster covers Woodlands Avenue 6, Woodlands Circle, Woodlands Crescent and Woodlands Drives 40, 60, 70 and 72.

“Despite the slowdown in the number of cases reported and the progress made, all stakeholders and residents in these clusters cannot be complacent and must remain vigilant in eradicating possible mosquito breeding habitats,” said the NEA. “Woodlands is also still under surveillance and cases may resurface given the mobility of our population.”

The agency also sounded another note of caution. There are still “clusters of concern”, as it pointed to six areas: Geylang Road, Jalan Lembah Thomson, Aljunied Road, Pasir Ris Drive 3, Changi Road and Jurong East Avenue 1.

As of July 18, 7,808 dengue cases have been reported so far in 2019 across Singapore — five times more than the number reported in the same period last year.

The country, said the agency, is in the peak dengue season, which usually stretches from June to October. It added that other countries in the region are similarly seeing an upsurge of dengue cases this year.

REASONS FOR HIGH DENGUE CASES THIS YEAR

There are three factors causing the spike in dengue cases this year: Increase in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population, warmer weather and lowered herd immunity.

The findings were based on NEA’s surveillance, data collection and analysis.

The agency said that its Gravitrap surveillance system has shown an increase in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population by almost three times since the last major dengue outbreak in 2013. And this increases the risk of dengue transmission.

Gravitraps, which are black cylindrical containers with sticky surfaces that trap female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes looking for water surfaces to lay their eggs, have been in use for several years.

The NEA noted that on top of the high number of mosquitoes, warmer temperatures lead to accelerated development of the Aedes mosquito and shorter incubation period of the dengue virus. This exacerbates the transmission of dengue.

It pointed out that the mean temperature for the first half of this year was 0.7 degrees higher than that during the same period last year.

A low herd immunity, which means that a large proportion of Singapore’s population is susceptible to dengue, is another factor.

The NEA said that the proportion of adults who have had dengue before has progressively reduced from 59 per cent in 2004 to 51 per cent in 2009 and 41 per cent in 2017.

Related topics

dengue Aedes mosquito Woodlands NEA

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