Weekly dengue count hits all-time high

Weekly dengue count hits all-time high

SINGAPORE - Last week was Singapore's worst ever for dengue infections, with 898 reported.

This was 56 higher than the number of cases in the previous worst week - in June last year - and about a third up on the previous week's total of 674.

And the situation looks unlikely to improve.

The National Environment Agency (NEA), which released the figures yesterday, said its Gravitrap surveillance system - comprising about 3,000 traps across the island - shows that the population of adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes has doubled since May.

There have been 9,697 dengue cases in total reported this year, with Den-1 - the strain of virus that caused an epidemic last year - accounting for almost 90 per cent of the infections.

The NEA expects the number of cases to rise further.

"The hotter months of June to October are... when we usually see higher transmission of dengue in Singapore due to accelerated breeding and maturation cycles for the Aedes mosquitoes and shorter incubation periods for the dengue virus," it said.

There are currently 101 active clusters in Singapore, 24 of which are high-risk areas with 10 or more cases. The largest cluster is in Tampines, covering Flora Drive, Flora Road, Jalan Batalong, Jalan Chelagi and Loyang Rise.

Since the cluster was formed in May, there have been 172 cases there. Nine of these surfaced in the last two weeks. Another big cluster in the Farrer Road-Holland Road area had 183 cases last month but has since "closed".

The NEA said it will continue to conduct daily checks for breeding habitats in public areas and housing estates, and that more than 1.5 million inspections have been done this year. It added that it will focus on areas with "higher potential" for dengue transmission, such as construction sites.

This year, the NEA has issued 476 notices to attend court and 49 stop-work orders to errant contractors at sites where mosquitoes breed.

Last week, construction company China Jingye Engineering Corporation was told to stop work and clean up its Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1 Housing Board construction site, after 35 of its workers contracted dengue. The NEA said it will take the company to court after a site inspection uncovered four mosquito breeding areas.

The Straits Times counted at least four condominium construction sites and two workers' dormitories in Flora Drive last night.

"Two weeks ago, at least 20 workers who stay here got dengue," said Bangladeshi Badun, 25, who works at one of the sites and goes by one name. "Now, first thing in the morning, we check for water and clean it out."

Mr Salim Subahan, 42, who works at another one of the sites and lives in a dormitory there, said he is "very scared" of being infected. He said: "All the sites here have been told to stop work before because workers have been getting dengue."


This article was first published on July 9, 2014.
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