Dengue in Singapore: Stiff punishment for repeat mosquito breeding offences

File photo of the Aedes aegypti, the main mosquito species that transmits dengue in Singapore. (Getty Images file photo)
File photo of the Aedes aegypti, the main mosquito species that transmits dengue in Singapore. (Getty Images file photo)

SINGAPORE — With weekly dengue cases continuing to rise sharply, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has warned of strong enforcement action for households which are found with repeat mosquito breeding offences.

In a media release on Thursday (28 April), NEA said that more than 6,000 dengue cases have been reported this year to date, already exceeding the 5,258 total cases reported in 2021. For the week ending 23 April, 941 cases were reported, 208 more than in the previous week.

As of Tuesday, there are 193 active dengue clusters reported in Singapore. The number of Aedes mosquito breeding detected has also increased and almost doubled at all premises types, from around 1,300 in February to 2,400 in March. These rising trends come even before Singapore reaches the traditional peak dengue season from June to October.

NEA said that while it has closed about 67 per cent, or 394 of 587, of the dengue clusters since the start of the year, it continues to detect "egregious cases" of premises with multiple mosquito breeding habitats.

It added that it will be taking strong enforcement action against these recent cases. For households found with repeat mosquito breeding offences and multiple mosquito breeding habitats, offenders may face a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months. Repeat offenders will be given heftier penalties or sent to court.

Examples of premises with multiple mosquito breeding habitats

In the media release, NEA cited the following examples as egregious cases of premises with multiple mosquito breeding habitats:

  • Residential premises at Borthwick Drive: Three instances of multiple profuse mosquito breeding were detected. These included: two ornamental containers and a basin with more than 50 mosquito larvae each; a water fountain with about 100 larvae; an unused fountain and an unused pond with more than a few hundred larvae each. Another 13 premises had mosquito breeding habitats with 100 or more larvae each.

  • Residential premises at Grove Avenue: Four mosquito breeding habitats were detected at a residential premise. Habitats detected included domestic containers, a flowerpot plate, and an inspection chamber – with a total of 100 mosquito larvae. Another three premises had mosquito breeding habitats with about 100 larvae each.

  • Condominium common area at Eng Kong Terrace/Kismis Green/Lorong Kismis: Multiple mosquito breeding habitats were detected, while mosquito breeding was detected in gully traps on two separate inspections with 50 and 200 larvae or more, and in a discarded receptacle with 200 larvae or more.

  • Condo common area at Hougang Avenue 5: Profuse mosquito breeding was detected in a ground puddle at the condominium compound, with more than a few hundred mosquito larvae.

  • Commercial premises at Cheong Chin Nam Road: Three instances of profuse mosquito breeding were detected in ground puddles at different levels of the commercial premises’ car park, with a total of more than 100 mosquito larvae.

  • Construction site at Serangoon North Avenue 1: Repeated and multiple mosquito breeding was detected at a construction site. Mosquito breeding habitats detected included: ground puddles, metal formworks, a steel toe board, and scupper drains – some habitats had 50 mosquito larvae or more. The construction site was issued a Stop Work Order twice, to conduct rectification measures.

NEA said these cases show that some premises owners and occupiers are still not carrying out necessary basic mosquito control checks.

In addition to ongoing islandwide dengue inspections, NEA has intensified inspection and outreach efforts in April, and will continue with this over the next few months. Residents staying at dengue cluster areas are strongly urged to cooperate with NEA officers and facilitate their checks.

It urges the public to regularly practised the following "Mozzie Wipeout" steps to target common mosquito breeding habitats: break up hardened soil; lift and empty flowerpot plates; overturn pails and wipe their rims; change water in vases; and keep roof gutters clear and place BTI insecticide inside.

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