Condo design blamed for dengue cases

Flawed design: Ms Fu and Dr Maliki (squatting) inspecting a mosquito breeding spot at Ferraria Park condominium yesterday. About 30 residents have caught dengue in the past two months.
PHOTO: Condo design blamed for dengue cases

SINGAPORE - A design fault that allowed water to accumulate beneath paving stones is part of the reason for the high number of dengue cases reported at the Ferraria Park condominium, it was revealed yesterday.

The sprawling condo in Loyang has heavy elevated paving slabs that let water seep between them into hidden drains below. These became breeding places for the Aedes mosquito, which transmits dengue.

About 30 residents have caught the potentially deadly disease in the past two months, a period that has seen dengue cases skyrocket here. The cases at the condo was part of a cluster of 218 cases closed last Tuesday.

The discovery of the problem came after weeks of fruitless investigation by the condo's management committee (MC), during which all visible surfaces were checked and mosquitoes were found breeding in barbecue pits. The MC also increased the frequency of fogging.

Eventually, with the help of officers from the National Environment Agency, the MC lifted the 20kg concrete slabs covering a large part of the public areas and found larvae breeding in two places.

Grace Fu, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, who visited the condo yesterday with Maliki Osman, Mayor of South East District, said her ministry will take note of design features that make maintenance hard and pose a danger as mosquito breeding places. The findings will be raised with the construction sector.

Ms Fu said the Ferraria Park case "provided positive lessons" because of "the many challenges brought about by design", adding that it was important for architects to design homes for easy maintenance.

Singapore is grappling with a dengue epidemic, with 828 people diagnosed last week and 891 the week before - the highest weekly numbers recorded.

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