High cases of Dengue persist, with landed homes being the hardest hit: NEA

2 Nov 2020

32,806 dengue cases have been reported so far, making this more than double the number of cases for the whole of 2019, and the largest dengue outbreak in Singapore’s history. 

Singapore continues to see rising cases of dengue, with cases increasing for the seventh consecutive week since the beginning of September, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA) media release on Friday, as reported by TODAY.

As of 29 October, the total number of dengue cases for 2020 stood at 32,806, doubling the figure for the whole of 2019 at 15,998 cases.

This makes it the largest dengue outbreak in Singapore since 2013, which was recorded to have 22,170 cases, as reported by Today.

NEA has also detected a 26% increase in the adult Aedes mosquito population since the beginning of September.

NEA has also found a higher incidence of Aedes mosquito breeding and dengue cases in landed homes, compared to private high-rise apartments and HDB flats.

The dengue incidence rate for residents living in landed homes is estimated to be 820 per 100,000 residents in August and September, making the figure three to six times higher than that for residents living in apartments.

Recommended article: Dengue Clusters in Singapore – Is Your Home in a Red Zone?

From January to September 2020, the number of dengue cases in landed residential homes makes up 25% of the total number of cases. This is noted to be proportionally higher than the percentage of landed residential property in Singapore.

According to NEA, the topography of landed residential homes is favourable for mosquito breeding due to the larger surface areas and greater variety of structures and receptacle types within the compound.

Besides the usual domestic and ornamental containers and flowerpot plates found in most homes, mosquito breeding is also found in water fountains, roof gutters and drains of landed homes.

In a poll conducted in August by government feedback portal REACH, it was revealed that residents of landed homes were the most concerned about the dengue situation in Singapore, though less than half of the residents polled had cleared blockages in their roof gutters and drains, or had put Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) larvicide in them in the past week.

NEA continues to urge residents to take additional measures that include “turning over containers and storing them under shelter when not in use; covering any water storage containers and using the water in such containers promptly; maintaining water fountains regularly and scrubbing the interior surfaces of fountains to remove mosquito eggs that can attach to such surfaces; as well as clearing roof gutters and drains within the compounds, to prevent chokes and accumulation of stagnant water.”

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Bti lavicide, which is used to kill mosquito larvae, should also be used on stagnant water bodies that cannot be removed.

“Diligently carrying out all the above actions will lower the risk of being infected with dengue, and thus protect residents and their families,” says NEA.

On a positive note, NEA reports a decrease of fifteen dengue clusters down to 162, as of 29 October.

Clusters at Changi Road, Bishan Street 11, Carpmael Road and May Road were closed last week.

A total of 2,657 out of 2,819 – around 94% – clusters reported since the start of this year had been closed.

The agency continues to appeal to the public to remain vigilant in practicing protective actions against dengue to prevent a second surge this year.

“NEA and our partners in the IADTF have thus kept up inspections at dengue cluster areas, and maintained a high tempo of preventive inspections for mosquito breeding and dengue cluster operations, in order to further slow down dengue transmission.

It is critical that stakeholders and the public continue to work together with NEA, to arrest the rise in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population in the community and break disease transmission.”

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