Indonesian man dies of dengue fever

SINGAPORE - An Indonesian man is the first foreigner to die of dengue fever in Singapore this year.

The 68-year-old most likely contracted the disease while travelling in Indonesia earlier this month, said the authorities yesterday. He was later treated at Tan Tock Seng Hospital but died on Tuesday despite blood transfusions, added the joint statement from the Ministry of Health and the National Environment Agency.

Some 4 to 7 per cent of dengue cases over the past five years originated from abroad.

The mosquito-borne disease, which has infected a record 11,343 people in Singapore this year, is endemic in the region.

The latest fatality developed a fever on June 20, when he was still in Indonesia. He arrived in Singapore the next day and it is unclear why he was here. Two days later, he went to the hospital's emergency department. He had been vomiting and suffering from diarrhoea for 48 hours.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital said it had attended to him immediately because his condition was unstable. Doctors discovered he had dengue fever, which also caused kidney failure and severe liver inflammation. The man was hospitalised for monitoring, but his condition worsened on Monday while in the intensive care unit.

Despite "aggressive" treatment that included kidney dialysis, he died from dengue shock syndrome the following day, the hospital said. This syndrome happens when blood pressure drops to dangerously low levels, causing organs to fail.

Meanwhile, Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said yesterday dengue inspectors are still "working round the clock" inspecting homes, despite the haze.

"My appeal to residents is to please make it easier for our inspectors... who are working under very tough conditions," he told reporters during a visit to a water treatment plant.

The Indonesian man's death follows three earlier ones linked to the local epidemic. The Singaporean men who died were aged 20, 60 and 86.

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