SINGAPORE: Five people have died from dengue this year, as the number of cases weekly “remain high”, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Monday (Apr 6).
As of 3pm last Friday, there were 5,033 dengue cases in Singapore this year – more than double the reported number of cases in the same period in 2019. Three people died from dengue in the same period last year.
“The number of weekly dengue cases remain high, and continues to be a serious public health concern,” the agency said in its media release.
The five people who died were aged between 60 and 80 years old, and all lived or worked within dengue cluster areas, NEA said.
According to the NEA website on Monday, 110 dengue clusters have been identified. The biggest cluster, with 182 cases, includes several blocks in Jurong West Street 91, Jurong West Street 92, Yunnan Crescent, Yunnan Road, Yunnan Walk 2 and Yunnan Walk 3.
“The annual National Dengue Prevention Campaign was launched on Mar 22, ahead of the traditional mid-year peak dengue season, to rally the community to take urgent action to fight dengue,” the agency wrote on its website.
“The campaign has been brought forward as dengue cases, in particular those due to DENV-3, and the Aedes aegypti mosquito population continue to remain high.”
Dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) is the more predominant strain in Singapore, but there has been an increase in dengue virus serotype 3 (DENV-3) cases lately, NEA said last month.
It said the rise in proportion of DENV-3 cases is of concern, “as we have not had dengue outbreaks driven by DENV-3 in Singapore for almost three decades”.
READ: More than 4,000 dengue cases in Singapore since start of 2020 as virus strain re-emerges
NEA said on Monday the “unusually high number” of dengue cases outside the typical peak season – between May and September – could create a “momentum of transmission” that may lead to more cases with the warmer months ahead.
ENFORCEMENT DURING CIRCUIT BREAKER PERIOD
Businesses and premises owners should continue to ensure “adequate vector control measures” are taken at all premises under their responsibility, even during the period of the circuit breaker measures, NEA said.
These measures, meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, will take effect from Tuesday until May 4, and will affect construction sites, offices and commercial buildings, shops, entertainment outlets, nurseries, farms, schools, and places of worship.
READ: COVID-19: Singapore makes ‘decisive move’ to close most workplaces and impose full home-based learning for schools, says PM Lee
NEA has also reached out to members of the Inter-Agency Dengue Taskforce, Singapore Contractors Association and operators of dormitories for vector control activities to be sustained during this period.
The agency will continue to conduct inspections and enforcement action to reduce dengue transmission during this period, it added.
“Recognising the concerns arising from the COVID-19 situation, NEA has since put in place measures to ensure that NEA officers performing dengue home inspections are healthy and fit for work,” it said.
“Besides taking temperature twice a day, other measures include maintaining good personal and hand hygiene at all times, like sanitising their hands before and after every home inspections, and adhering to MOH’s guidelines, which include not working when one is feeling unwell, maintaining safe distancing from colleagues and homeowners/ occupiers, and donning masks during the course of work.”
Businesses are encourage to ensure proper housekeeping within compounds and to carry out routine pest control checks.
Treatments used to prevent mosquito breeding should be sustained, especially at construction sites, even if these places are closed during the period of the circuit breaker.