Dengue fever surges in Singapore; 9,000 sickened

by Heather Tan

Singapore is telling doctors to be more vigilant against dengue fever as the mosquito-borne disease surges this year.

The Southeast Asian city-state has had more than 9,000 cases and two deaths since January. The illnesses counted so far in 2013 are already twice the total for all of last year.

Singapore's health ministry said in a statement late Monday it has alerted clinics in neighborhoods where dengue cases have spiked and has advised all medical practitioners about the early diagnosis and close monitoring of patients.

Dengue fever, spread by the , is common in Asia and Latin America. Symptoms include , joint pains and nausea, but in severe cases, it can lead to internal bleeding, liver enlargement, circulatory shutdown and death.

Part of the reason for this year's increase is that the seems to be showing more strength and resistance, said Asok Kurup, a doctor at Mount Elizabeth Hospital's infectious diseases care center, who has treated dozens of dengue cases this year.

Officials have urged Singaporeans to take precautions and clear stagnant water where mosquitoes breed, but some residents say the main responsibility lies with the .

"With so many cases occurring, shouldn't the vigilance fall on our doctors instead?" said homemaker Audrey Quek, whose teenage son had dengue two years ago. She said doctor initially mistook his fever and joint pains for , but he survived.

Authorities say they're taking other measures such as increasing insecticide and sending officers to inspect locations where mosquitoes might breed. Public awareness campaigns are also being planned, including an online reality show focusing on environmental officers on anti-dengue patrols.

Singapore imposes tough penalties on residents whose homes are found to be mosquito breeding areas. Offenders can be fined and jailed three months.

Singapore's worst dengue outbreak in recent years was in 2005, when nearly 14,000 cases and 25 deaths were reported.

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Singapore bracing for worst dengue epidemic

May 31, 2013

Singapore is bracing itself for its worst ever dengue epidemic with infections this year already exceeding the total for all of 2012, official statistics showed Friday.

Dengue fever outbreak hits Costa Rica

Apr 10, 2013

Health officials in Costa Rica said an outbreak of dengue fever has sickened 7,000 people, with many cases occurring in some of this Central American country's most popular tourist areas.

Warning system predicts outbreaks of dengue fever

Apr 29, 2013

With the help of a warning system which measures the risk of dengue incidence using precipitation and air temperature, it is possible to forecast the outbreak of dengue fever up to 16 weeks in advance. This is what Yien Ling ...

New Caledonia dengue outbreak kills three

Apr 26, 2013

A dengue fever outbreak in the Pacific islands of New Caledonia has killed three people, officials said Friday, after the World Health Organization raised alarm over the spread of the virus.

Recommended for you

Malaysia reports first Asian death from MERS virus

3 hours ago

A Malaysian man who went on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia has become the first death in Asia from Middle East respiratory syndrome, while the Philippines has isolated a health worker who tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.

Philippines quarantines man over MERS fears

4 hours ago

Philippine health authorities said Wednesday they have quarantined a Filipino who arrived from the Middle East because he tested positive for the deadly MERS virus.

User comments