Graph of reported dengue cases on a weekly basis, 2015-2019 (Image by National Environment Agency)

Over 5,000 dengue cases in 2019 so far, about 37% more than total cases in 2018

There appears to be a surge in dengue cases this year with four recorded dengue deaths so far and hundreds of new cases each month. In February, one 74-year old and one 77-year old reportedly died due to dengue infection in Bedok and Hougang respectively while in March, the same was reported of a 71-year old in Ang Mo Kio. In June, a 63-year old died of dengue in Hougang. All these cases occurred in active dengue clusters, says the NEA.

According to the NEA’s dengue surveillance data for first quarter of 2019 (Jan – Mar) there were 2,223 dengue cases, 25 of which were dengue haemorrhagic fever cases. This is an 87.9% increase from the previous quarter (Oct – Dec 2018) which recorded 1,183 cases.

In more troubling news, there have been 5,184 reported dengue cases in Singapore for 2019 so far as of 17 June which is significantly higher than the total number of cases reported in 2018 which was 3,285 and the 2,771 cases reported in 2017.

In one week of 2019 alone, 9 to 15 June, the NEA recorded 467 cases of dengue, a spike of more than 67 cases from the previous week. In fact, the NEA reports that the number of weekly reported dengue cases have more than quadrupled in the past three months.

Active dengue clusters in Singapore

The NEA has also detected more active dengue clusters this month as of 17 June – 112 clusters which is more than double from the past month. This is significantly higher considering that the NEA identified a total of 214 clusters in Q1 of 2019, that’s over a three-month period. It seems the second quarter is poised to get a lot worse.

As of 19 June, there are 119 active dengue clusters according to data from the NEA with 33 of those clusters classified as ‘high risk areas with more than 10 cases’. The top 5 areas are:

  1. Woodlands Ave 6 / Circle / Cres / Woodlands Dr 70 & 70
  2. Woodlands Dr 62 / Dr 73 / Dr 75 / Woodlands Ring Road
  3. Geylang Rd / Guillemard Rd / Sims Ave / Westerhout Rd
  4. Chai Chee Ave / Chai Chee Dr / Chai Chee Ln / Chai Chee Rd / Chai Chee St
  5. Jln Lembah Thomson / Jln Pelatina / Soo Chow Rise / Soo Chow View / Soo Chow Way / Taman Permata / Thomson Ridge / Upp Thomson Rd (Lakeview)

To check if your area is an active dengue clusters, click here.

According to the NEA, the population of the dengue carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito has been ‘persistently high’ which increases the risk of virus transmission. NEA’s gravitrap surveillance system has in fact shown a 25% increase in that specific species of mosquito population in April compared to March.

While these numbers appear alarming, the NEA says that this is the ‘traditional dengue peak season’.

However, looking at NEA’s own graph of dengue cases over the past five years, 2019 has seen a spike of dengue cases in recent weeks which is not evident in similar time periods of previous years. Clearly, this is not following the trends of the past years which show the number of cases peaking towards the end of the year.

Graph of reported dengue cases on a weekly basis, 2015-2019 (Image by National Environment Agency)

Curiously, despite the increase reported dengue cases, the NEA has detected 39% fewer breeding habitats in Jan – Mar 2019 (3,100) compared to Oct – Dec 2018 (5,000).

The NEA urges the public to play their part in removing stagnant water from their surroundings so as to deprive the mosquitoes of their breeding habitats which in turn would hopefully reduce the number of dengue cases.