SINGAPORE: Singapore is facing an ongoing battle against dengue fever. The National Environment Agency (NEA) has recently reported alarming statistics in a Facebook update urging people to take immediate precautions against this mosquito-borne disease. In the week ending October 21, 2023, NEA reported 208 new dengue cases and 51 active dengue clusters.
On Thursday (Oct 26), NEA published a Facebook post stressing the importance of individual responsibility in controlling the dengue outbreak. NEA said: “Individuals infected with dengue are advised to avoid further mosquito bites to prevent passing on the virus to mosquitoes and other people in the neighbourhood.”
Practice S-A-W to protect yourself and others:
- Spraying insecticide in dark corners around the house.
- Applying insect repellent regularly.
- Wearing long-sleeve tops and long pants.
Cause of dengue
Dengue, a viral infection transmitted by the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, remains a significant health concern in Singapore. The Aedes aegypti mosquito finds a hospitable environment in the urban setting, laying its eggs and feeding on the host’s blood.
As dengue is endemic in Singapore, areas with higher Aedes aegypti mosquito populations face an increased risk of dengue transmission, particularly during the dengue season.
NEA urges residents living in areas with relatively higher Aedes aegypti mosquito populations to take extra care.
These residents are encouraged to practise the “Mozzie Wipeout” — steps to prevent mosquito breeding — regularly and educate their families, friends, and neighbours about the importance of removing stagnant water from their surroundings.
Town Councils (TCs) and other stakeholders are encouraged to prioritize dengue prevention and control measures, focusing on areas with a high mosquito population.
It’s important to note that vigilance is essential even in areas not highlighted for high mosquito populations, as low risk does not imply no risk. The rapid expansion of localized mosquito populations remains a significant concern, given that a single female mosquito can lay up to 300 eggs in her short lifespan.
One of the critical tools NEA uses for monitoring and controlling the Aedes aegypti mosquito population is the Gravitrap. These traps have been deployed in about 70,000 locations across public and landed housing estates throughout Singapore. Designed to attract and trap female Aedes adult mosquitoes seeking to lay their eggs, Gravitraps serve a dual purpose by capturing these mosquitoes and preventing them from biting individuals. Furthermore, these traps also intercept the emergence of mosquitoes from eggs laid within the trap.
The data collected from these Gravitraps helps to monitor the Aedes mosquito population in a given area and its vicinity. To bolster the dengue control strategy, NEA updates information on areas with relatively higher Aedes aegypti mosquito populations on a monthly basis on their website.
The battle against dengue fever in Singapore is ongoing, and the latest statistics from the National Environment Agency (NEA) serve as a crucial call to action as 2023 nears its end. Together, let’s take action and precaution.