After five weeks of decline in the number of dengue cases recorded in the country, the situation got worse during last year’s December holidays as more people were affected with the viral infection.
From 22 to 28 December 2019, a total of 290 cases were reported, which is a 29 per cent climb from 226 cases the week earlier.
In the first week of this year, the number of infections continued to go up, with 313 individuals diagnosed with the viral disease. This is an 8 per cent increase from the previous week, based on the National Environment Agency (NEA) website.
Currently, there are 86 active clusters in the country, an increase of almost a third since the mid of last month.
In 2019, Singapore faced its third-biggest dengue outbreak where more than 16,100 people were down with the viral disease.
In the same year, there were around 1,500 dengue clusters identified islandwide. In fact, in July 2019, NEA stated in its website that the figure for dengue cases in a week has hit a new 5-year high, with 665 cases recorded in just one week.
Of all those who contacted the viral disease, 88 people were diagnosed with more serious complications such as dengue haemorrhagic fever.
This number was the highest since 2013, when 93 people out of the 22,077 infected had this form of dengue.
Apart from the more serious dengue haemorrhagic fever, 20 people have also lost their lives. The youngest was 45 years old, and the oldest was 94.
In response to this, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli noted that mayors, grassroots advisers, community leaders as well as dengue prevention volunteers have amped-up public education campaigns as it contributed to the decrease in dengue cases and dengue clusters from its peak in July.
On 20 December, after five weeks of decrease in the number of dengue cases, the NEA revealed in a statement that through its concerted efforts along with the Government and community partners, there was a 22 per cent decline in the number of weekly reported dengue cases.
It explained that the cases dropped from 330 to 257 a week. The number went down further to 226 in the week ending 21 Dec.
It added that the amount of active dengue clusters had also dipped from 79 to 67 during the same period of time. However, right after the statement, the number of cases grew and the active dengue clusters rose to 86 currently.
The largest cluster is in Pasir Ris as 147 cases were reported. Out of this number, seven occurred in the past fortnight. The second biggest cluster is in the Yio Chu Kang area, with 131 cases.
Be prepared for the Chinese New Year season
Given that Chinese New Year is just around the corner, NEA advises people to take care of ornamental plants and prevent them from becoming mosquito breeding habitats. They can do so by making sure water does not collect in the flowerpot plate or on the soil.
“Homeowners doing spring cleaning are also reminded to properly dispose of any refuse, including large furniture or household items, to avoid the discarded materials from becoming unintentional mosquito breeding habitats,” NEA stated.
The Agency also pointed out that symptoms of dengue include a sudden high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, skin rash, tiredness, nausea and vomiting.
Some can even experience bleeding from the gums or nose as well as easy bruising of the skin.
As such, the Straits Times reported that the Ministry of Health advised people with the symptoms to visit a doctor soonest possible “for timely diagnosis and management”.
It added, “Although most dengue patients recover from the infection, elderly patients and those with concurrent medical conditions are at higher risk of developing complications that can lead to death.”