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    Feb 29, 2016

    $200 fine for all mozzie-breeding homes

    WITH an expected spike in dengue cases this year, and the threat of the Zika virus, enforcement action will be stepped up against homes found to be breeding mosquitoes.

    From March 14, all homes - whether they are within or outside dengue clusters - will be fined $200 if found to be breeding mosquitoes. Currently, only homes within dengue clusters are fined $200, with homes outside not fined at all.

    "We have to send this strong signal to everyone to do their part," said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli yesterday at the launch of an annual campaign to get people to eliminate mosquito breeding.

    The Do The Mozzie Wipeout campaign was brought forward from its usual yearly launch around March to June.

    "The majority of the breeding places are still found in homes, the usual places again and again, and therefore we will be toughening our approach towards home owners."

    Dengue cases this year could hit a high of 30,000 due to warmer temperatures, more mosquitoes and a change in the type of prevailing dengue virus which would cause a spike in cases, said the National Environment Agency (NEA).

    As of Jan 31, it has conducted more than 126,000 inspections islandwide, and found more than 1,900 cases of mosquito breeding. In the week ending Feb 20, 593 dengue cases have been reported.

    Adding to worries is the Zika virus, which has been spreading across the Americas and is linked to underdeveloped brains in babies. Like dengue, the Zika virus is carried by the Aedes mosquito.