Dengue cases hit highest weekly total this year

A change in the main circulating dengue virus strain may indicate a future outbreak.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has just revealed that there were 377 dengue cases reported last week, making it the highest weekly total this year.

Typically, the end of the year sees fewer infections, but NEA said that the Aedes mosquito population has doubled. According to them, warmer than usual year-end weather caused by El Nino could result in shorter mosquito breeding periods and shorter incubation times for the dengue virus.

Already, four people have died of dengue fever this year, three of which were in the recent months since September.

There are four strains of dengue and the DENV-2 serotype had been the dominant strain before 2013, until it was replaced by DENV-1. But DENV-2 is back now, with dengue cases due to DENV-2 accounting for more than half of all cases here. This is worrying as it may indicate a future outbreak.

In a Facebook post, Senior Minister of State for Health and the Environment and Water Resources Dr Amy Khor reminded the public to "stay vigilant against dengue", and to work together to "deny the Aedes mosquitoes their breeding habitats". This can be achieved by practising the 10-minute, five-step Mozzie Wipeout.

NEA advised those infected with dengue to apply mosquito repellent to prevent mosquitoes from biting them and infecting others. Those with symptoms should visit a doctor.

According to NEA, the high-risk dengue clusters with 10 or more cases are Bukit Panjang, Yishun, Ang Mo Kio, Hougang, Pasir Ris, Tampines, Bishan, Toa Payoh, Paya Lebar, Newton, Geylang, Bedok and Kallang (as of 28 December 2015).

 

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