SINGAPORE - The dengue death toll this year rose to four when a 66-year-old died from multi-organ failure caused by the viral disease on Monday, even as the number of weekly infections saw a big drop.
The man was admitted to Alexandra Hospital last Tuesday after a fall, and doctors found that he had been suffering from fever and had rashes the previous four days.
He tested positive for dengue.
The next day, he developed breathing problems and kidney failure, and was transferred to intensive care. But his condition continued to deteriorate, and on Monday, he died from dengue shock syndrome.
The death came as figures showed the number of people being infected by the virus in Singapore taking a dive.
There were 679 new infections last week, the lowest in the past 11/2 months and a big drop from the more than 800 cases weekly reported in the past four weeks.
Despite the number of infections falling for two straight weeks, however, the Health Ministry and the National Environment Agency advised people to continue taking appropriate precautions to prevent mosquito breeding.
They said the key to dengue control is to eliminate all mosquito breeding habitats.
There are still more than 80 active dengue clusters, the biggest of which is in Tampines, where 216 people have so far been infected in a chain transmission.
The latest victim to die this year was one of three people infected in a dengue cluster in the Tanglin Halt area.
The first dengue death this year occurred in May. The victim was Mr Ang Yong Han, 20, and two breeding spots were found in his neighbourhood in Hougang in early April. His death was followed last month by those of two more men, aged 60 and 86. An Indonesian man also died from dengue in Singapore, but he was not infected here.
During the 2005 epidemic, which was the worst Singapore has experienced, there were 25 deaths, while 14,209 fell ill.
By 3pm on Monday, 12,543 had contracted dengue this year.
The viral disease is spread from person to person by the Aedes mosquito. Those bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus will become ill four to seven days later.
Symptoms include a fever that comes on quickly, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and skin rash. Those experiencing such symptoms are advised to seek medical care.
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