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    Apr 06, 2016

    Dengue cases spike after decline last month

    THE number of new dengue fever cases has begun to rise again after a downturn last month.

    There were 378 recorded last week, 72 more than the previous seven days, according to figures from the National Environment Agency (NEA).

    Experts have already warned that there could be a major epidemic this year due to the unusually high number of infections at the start of the year - traditionally a low period for such mosquito-borne infections.

    The Ministry of Health and NEA have said that they expect to see more than 30,000 infections this year - far higher than the record 22,170 cases in 2013.

    So far, more than 6,400 people have been diagnosed with the viral infection - three times the number seen this time last year.

    Four people have died this year, as many as the number for the whole of 2015.

    NEA said most mosquito-breeding sites found by its inspectors were in homes, in pails, flower pot plates and trays.

    "Source eradication of mosquito-breeding habitats and spraying of insecticides to control the adult mosquito population remain key to dengue prevention," it said on its website.

    Such efforts need to be kept up, it added, in order to mitigate "the forecast surge in cases".

    A $200 fine was introduced on March 14 for those found to have mosquitoes breeding in their homes.

    Previously, the penalty was imposed only on homes in active dengue clusters.