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Dengue cases soar, doubling in first quarter of 2024; seven deaths reported

SINGAPORE, April 1 ------ Singapore is experiencing a surge in dengue infections, with cases in the opening quarter of the year more than double that of the same period in 2023.  


Over 5,000 dengue cases were reported, a spike from the 2,360 cases in the same quarter last year, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a news release on Sunday (Mar 31). As of Mar 25, seven people have died from local dengue infection. Six fatalities were recorded for the whole of 2023.  


The figures were revealed at Sunday's launch of the national dengue prevention campaign, which came ahead of the traditional peak dengue season of May to October. “What's worrying is that this year we are seeing an increase in the number of cases," said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and the Environment Baey Yam Keng in a doorstop interview. "We have weekly dengue cases of more than 300 in this first quarter.” The Aedes aegypti mosquito population has also remained high, with the number of Aedes mosquito breeding habitats found at residential premises in January double that of last January. 


In the latest update on NEA's website, there are 27 dengue clusters under the "red" alert level as of Mar 28, referring to high-risk areas with 10 or more cases. There are four dengue virus serotypes circulating in Singapore, NEA said on its website. Dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) has been predominant since September 2023, with prior periodic dominance of DENV-1 and DENV-3 in 2023. "Our population in Singapore has low immunity to all four dengue virus serotypes too," said the agency in its press release on Sunday. "The continued presence of all these dengue risk factors may lead to a surge in dengue cases in the coming months, if insufficient action is taken." It added that a dengue outbreak was averted last year due to stepped-up prevention and control measures. As a result, the number of dengue infections fell by 69 per cent - from 32,173 cases in 2022 to 9,949. 


NEA conducted over 813,000 inspections in 2023, uncovering more than 19,600 mosquito breeding habitats. Slightly over half were found in homes, 38 per cent in public areas and 5 per cent at construction sites. About 11,200 enforcement actions were taken against owners of premises for mosquito breeding, while about 800 enforcement actions and 108 stop-work orders were issued to construction sites. More than 100 contractors were charged in court for repeat offences. NEA said that similar to last year, working with stakeholders to step up community awareness and dengue prevention efforts is critical in the fight against dengue. "The National Dengue Prevention Campaign 2024 emphasizes that dengue prevention is a social responsibility, and will continue to rally the community to remain vigilant and reduce the risk of dengue infection," it added. 




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