Singapore fights back against worsening dengue outbreak

June 12, 2013

Singapore is fighting back against a rapidly worsening dengue epidemic by distributing insect repellants to every household and recruiting hundreds of disease control officers, officials said.

Two Singaporeans have died from the virus so far this year and weekly cases hit an all-time high of 820 in the period ending June 8, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a statement issued late Tuesday.

More than 9,300 people were infected this year as of Tuesday, fast nearing the 13,984 infections in 2005, the worst year on record, official data showed.

NEA said its officers and volunteers would be distributing 1.2 million insect repellants to all households in the compact island of over five million from July to August this year.

This would "help residents protect themselves from and thus break the chain of transmission," it said.

The agency is also hiring 300 new officers to supplement its current 850-strong disease control team.

"With the strengthened operational workforce, NEA will be able to inspect 100 percent of the premises in dengue clusters within a week, as well as to step up preventive surveillance checks in non-cluster areas," it said.

Dengue is endemic in Singapore, a rainy , as well as neighbouring Southeast Asian countries.

The virus causes , headaches, itching and joint pains. At an advanced stage it can lead to haemorrhaging and death.

The NEA said the current epidemic was driven by "low population immunity" and warmer weather. The Aedes mosquito, which carries the virus and transmits the disease, thrives during the hot season.

Homeowners in the city-state—known for its fastidious sanitation—can be fined Sg$200 ($160) if spots are found in their homes.

Repeat offenders can be fined up to Sg$5,000 or jailed for up to three months, or both.

The (WHO) warned in January that the disease had global "epidemic potential" after registering a 30-fold increase in the last 50 years to two million cases annually due to climate change and increased travel.

Explore further: Dengue spreads in Madeira archipelago: officials

Related Stories

WHO: Dengue showing global 'epidemic potential'

January 16, 2013

The World Health Organisation said on Wednesday that it had charted progress in the fight against tropical diseases but warned that dengue fever was spreading at an alarming rate.

New Caledonia dengue outbreak kills three

April 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.

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.

Recommended for you

Ebola virus mutations may help it evade drug treatment

September 11, 2015

Genetic mutations called "escape variants" in the deadly Ebola virus appear to block the ability of antibody-based treatments to ward off infection, according to a team of U.S. Army scientists and collaborators. Their findings, ...

Study finds viral protein that causes dengue shock

September 9, 2015

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have identified a key culprit responsible for the fluid loss and resulting shock that are the hallmark of severe - and potentially fatal - dengue virus infections.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.