NEA reports dengue cases are at a four-year high

On Tuesday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) reported on its official site that dengue cases have spiked over the past two weeks, with 400 cases reported last week, up from the 371 cases, the week before that.

This is the highest number of reported cases in the first 6 weeks since 2016. Based on NEA’s data, as of Saturday, 2,130 people have already been infected.

According to the data, there have been 33 cases on Sunday and 30 cases as of 3pm on Monday.

On Monday, a total of 114 active dengue clusters were reported, with large clusters located on Begonia Drive near Yio Chu Kang, Gangsa Road in Bukit Panjang, Jalan Kembangan, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 and Jurong West Street 91.

With the 15,998 reported cases for the whole of 2019, dwarfing the earlier figures of 3,283 in 2018 and 2,773 in 2017, the dengue situation is on the rise since last year.

Regarding this, sources say even that figure is still considerably lower than the major dengue outbreak ever experienced in 2013, which saw 22,170 infections and eight deaths in Singapore.

Up till now, there have been no reports of fatalities this year. Last year, however, there were two reported deaths from the dengue fever.

The NEA reaffirmed that the rise in the number of cases last year was due to a high Aedes aegypti mosquito population. The Aedes mosquito represents the primary vector for the disease and our warmer weather conditions and climate change are suitable for its growth.

It is also worth noting that a large proportion of our population continues to be susceptible to dengue despite Singapore’s successful vector control efforts that have been carried out over the years.

Resurgence of an Aedes aegypti strain found after 30 years

From the reported cases last month, the NEA noted a resurgence after three decades of a strain of dengue referred to as, 3 serotype (DenV-3).

In January, the NEA claimed that, “Singapore has not seen a DenV-3 outbreak in the last three decades, the population immunity for DenV-3 is low and therefore more susceptible to transmission of the virus. It is thus critical that all residents and stakeholders work closely together with NEA to break the dengue transmission in these clusters, and curtail the spread of the virus.”

For record, the predominant dengue virus strain in Singapore since 2016 is dengue-2 serotype (DenV-2). However, there are four strains of dengue in existence globally.

NEA had updated its website saying that a combination of the high Aedes aegypti mosquito population, given the current high number of dengue cases, as well as an uptick in DenV-3 infections, could lead to a weekly increase in dengue cases in 2020, causing it to rise above all levels.

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