Perspectives: Dengue Fever in Singapore

Perspectives: Dengue Fever in Singapore

Dengue fever in Singapore

Rising Number of Cases of Dengue Fever in Singapore

Earlier this year in March (2022), the National Environment Agency (NEA) sounded an alert about the raising number of cases of dengue fever in Singapore.  Fast forward to 3 Jun, and the situation has not gotten any better. On the number of cases, NEA says that “this number is expected to hit another historical peak, surpassing the highest weekly figure of 1,787 cases seen in 2020, and may even exceed 2,000 in the month of June, which is just the beginning of the traditional peak dengue season.”

As a parent, I was concerned whether the areas frequented by my child were dengue hot spots. Thankfully, NEA provides an online map of hot spots for people to check exactly for this. To my dismay, my child’s school was indeed in a red colour alert cluster (defined as a high-risk area with 10 or more cases). The silver-lining (for us) is that it is now the school holidays and we can avoid the area for the time being.

According to NEA, this is one of 103 red colour alert dengue clusters (398 active dengue clusters in total) as of 30 May 2022.

What Is Dengue Fever?

In an article on Healthhub, the Ministry of Health explains that dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus. Transmission is via the bite of an infective mosquito. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary vector for dengue, and according to NEA, the population of the Aedes mosquito in Singapore is high (Apr 22). It was in fact about 22% higher than in Apr 21. There are four different serotypes of dengue virus (DENV1 through 4), and all 4 types are in Singapore. This means that a person can in theory be infected with dengue up to four times.

Should I Be Worried About Dengue?

MOH says that first-time dengue infections can be severe. Furthermore, elderly persons and people with pre-existing medical conditions are at particular risk. It is also observed that repeat dengue infections have a higher chance of being severe. Severe dengue can result in Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome, both of which can indeed be fatal.

The NEA says that (again as of 30 May 22) dengue virus serotype 3 (DENV-3) has been detected at 67 of the red colour dengue clusters. It is expected that due to the high Aedes mosquito population and the prevalence of the DENV-3 serotype (which was previously uncommon here), there could be a further surge in the number of dengue cases over the next few months.

How To Help Prevent Dengue?

The best way to prevent dengue is to remove stagnant water from our environment, so as to deprive the mosquitoes of potential breeding habitats. Watch NEA’s Mozzie Wipeout video on YouTube here.

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This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.