More than 2,000 people have caught dengue fever since January this year which is already more than thrice the number of cases compared to the first quarter of 2018 which had only 600 cases.
Three people have already died from dengue this year. An elderly woman and two elderly men were the latest casualties.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli announced heightened measures against the spread of dengue during the launch of the National Dengue Prevention Campaign 2019 last Sunday (Apr 7).
Peak dengue season is usually from June to October. Because of climate change and increasingly warmer temperatures, dengue-carrying Aedes mosquitoes now breed earlier.
Dengue symptoms may include high fevers, headaches, bleeding from the nose and/or mouth, joint and muscle pains, vomiting, and diarrhea.
According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Woodlands cluster is the most active and at risk for dengue since January.
In order to curb the mosquito population, the NEA has installed Gravitraps in and around HDB blocks and estates. Gravitraps catch female Aedes mosquitoes which can carry dengue and Zika viruses. The NEA has already installed 50,000 traps and shall set up an additional 14,000 in the latter half of the year.
Project Wolbachia, in which sterile male mosquitoes are released, is another method implemented to control the mosquito population. Studies have shown the method to be effective, reducing mosquito populations by 70 to 80 percent in Tampines West and Nee Soon East.
Despite the government’s efforts, Minister Masagos said that dengue is “an ongoing threat.” Thus, he encouraged communities to take part in dengue prevention.
The NEA informs everyone to follow the 5-Step Mozzie Wipe-Out to remove stagnant water from containers such as pails, flower pots, vases, and roof gutters which can be breeding ground for mosquitoes.