Singapore’s dengue cases hit seven-year high

#Mozziewipeout Image: NEA/Facebook
#Mozziewipeout Image: NEA/Facebook

While COVID-19 dominates attention, another infectious disease is surging at a seven-year high.

Dengue fever infections this year surpassed 10,000 today after 165 new cases were reported in the past two days, according to the city-state’s environment agency. That’s the most since 2013 and comes on the heels of last week’s surge of 872 cases, the National Environment Agency said Saturday.  

“This is the highest number of cases in the first 5 months of the year since 2013, the largest outbreak year recorded in Singapore’s recent history,” the agency announced on its website. “Singapore has also not seen such a high weekly number of cases since the peak years in 2013 and 2014, where the weekly cases hit a high of 840 and 891 respectively.”

The agency said new cases have been rising since May in numbers not seen since peak dengue years of 2013 and 2014. A total of 22,170 dengue cases were reported in 2013 and 18,326 in 2014. 

Twelve people have so far died of dengue in Singapore this year. 

Number of reported cases by E-week (from Sun 0000hrs to Sat 2359hrs). Photo: NEA
Number of reported cases by E-week (from Sun 0000hrs to Sat 2359hrs). Photo: NEA

As of yesterday, there were 190 active dengue clusters in places including Potong Pasir Avenue 1, Woodleigh Close, and Tampines Avenue 7. Vector control operations are ongoing in those locations. 

The agency also reported a five-fold increase in dengue-carrying mosquito larvae detected in homes and common residential areas while the city was largely locked down for several months. 

“From Jan to May this year, we inspected about 341,000 homes and discovered about 7,800 mosquito breeding habitats in homes,” it said.

It said that audits of over 80% of “high-risk construction sites” resulted in 52 summonses and two orders to halt operations during the “circuit-breaker” lockdown.

The surge in new dengue cases happens as Singapore is experiencing an outbreak of cases involving dengue virus serotype 3, or DENV-3, which had its last outbreak 30 years ago. This could mean that population immunity to that strain is low, Environment and Water Resource Minister Masagos Zulkifli said.

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