Aug 06, 2013

    Fewer dengue cases but still worse than '12

    THE number of weekly dengue cases continued to fall last week, but the National Environment Agency (NEA) warned that the number of cases is still much higher than last year's.

    In the week ending last Saturday, there were 290 dengue cases, according to preliminary data from the Ministry of Health.

    This is lower than the 306 cases for the week before, and a big drop from this year's record of 842 cases in the week ended on June 22.

    An NEA spokesman told My Paper yesterday that the decline in dengue cases for the sixth consecutive week "is encouraging".

    "However, the number of weekly cases is still high - the 290 cases reported last week is a threefold increase compared to the 94 cases during the same time last year," she added.

    The number of weekly dengue cases last year hovered around 100.

    The NEA spokesman added that the population's herd immunity to dengue "remains low" and that Singapore is still in dengue season, which is expected to last until October.

    Hot and wet weather reportedly helps the Aedes mosquito, which spreads dengue, to mature and breed faster.

    The number of dengue clusters has also been falling. The number was 45 as of yesterday. The largest cluster was in Tampines, with 236 cases.

    Last Tuesday, The Straits Times reported that there were 58 active dengue clusters.

    Still, the NEA spokesman said that it and the Inter Agency Dengue Task Force, as well as town councils, "are not letting up on their efforts to rid public areas and housing estates of potential breeding grounds".

    She said officers are still deployed daily to do inspections. More officers will be sent to growing clusters to remove as many breeding grounds as possible, to help reduce transmission.

    The NEA spokesman urged the public to remain vigilant and continue with the Mozzie Wipeout steps - such as changing water in vases and bowls on alternate days - to keep the mosquito population low.

    She said this would also help "sustain the current downward trend and prevent a possible reversal".