Oct 23, 2013

    Somerset area in Orchard flagged as dengue hot spot

    BLOODSUCKERS have arrived in the Somerset area near Orchard Road, but they are not eyeing shoppers' wallets.

    The dengue mosquito has infected 18 people in the area, prompting the National Environment Agency (NEA) to flag part of Singapore's premier shopping belt as a dengue red zone. An area put on red alert is considered a high-risk area with 10 or more reported dengue cases.

    The dengue cluster extends to areas on either side of Somerset Road, ending where the road merges into Grange Road. Hangouts within the area include Scape Skate Park, Triple One Somerset and 313@somerset. Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, Peranakan Place and The CentrePoint fall just outside the area.

    NEA said yesterday that it was informed of the cluster on Oct 10 and two mosquito- breeding spots have been found at the Orchard Gateway construction site.

    Of the 18 dengue cases, 15 comprised construction workers from the Orchard Gateway project while the remaining three were people working within the cluster area. The first case was reported on Sept 25.

    "It cannot be confirmed if the three contracted dengue at their workplaces or at their residences," NEA said.

    Another cluster near Orchard Road, in the Eber Road and Oxley Rise area, comprises three cases. NEA was informed of this cluster on Thursday.

    The agency said it has observed no link between the two clusters so far, and officers have been deployed to check the area for breeding habitats.

    Three rounds of inspection have also been conducted at the Orchard Gateway construction site and its surrounding areas.

    The contractor, who had ceased operations for five days to clear potential mosquito- breeding sites, will be fined.

    NEA said the contractor has been asked to step up daily inspections to ensure proper housekeeping, removal of potential breeding sites and oiling of puddles on the ground.

    Its workers have also been made to take their temperature and apply insect repellent daily.