Despite 70% drop in dengue cases, Singapore not out of woods yet: Desmond Tan

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council and National Environment Agency conduct mosquito control operations at Pasir Ris Drive 6, witnessed by Desmond Tan (left), Minister for Sustainability and the Environment. (PHOTO: Desmond Tan/Facebook)
Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council and National Environment Agency conduct mosquito control operations at Pasir Ris Drive 6, witnessed by Desmond Tan (left), Minister for Sustainability and the Environment. (PHOTO: Desmond Tan/Facebook)

SINGAPORE — Although weekly dengue cases in Singapore have dropped by about 70 per cent since the peak in July, the country is not out of the woods yet, said Desmond Tan, the Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment.

In a post on his Facebook page on Monday (12 October), Tan said that there were 532 new dengue cases reported last week, compared to the peak of 1,792 reported cases in a single week in July.

However, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said that the weekly numbers are still at more than five times the number of cases seen in the corresponding period averaged over the last three years.

This year’s dengue outbreak has been the worst in Singapore history. With 30,810 cases reported in the first 40 weeks, it has already surpassed the previous high of 22,170 reported in the whole of 2013.

“We are not out of the woods yet. 532 is still a very high figure,” Tan wrote in his Facebook post, after he witnessed how the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC) and the NEA conducted mosquito control operations at Pasir Ris Drive 6 on Monday morning.

“NEA’s Gravitrap surveillance system has detected a rise in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population for five consecutive weeks now, and the rate of decline in the weekly dengue cases has slowed down since four weeks ago.

“We need to bring the cases down further – by more than half – to avoid a second peak in weekly dengue cases before the end of this year.”

Bad outbreak again in 2021 if there’s high baseline of cases

Tan warned that next year could see another bad outbreak if it starts with a “high baseline of dengue cases”.

He urged all residents, especially those living in dengue cluster areas, to continue to be vigilant.

“Spray insecticide in dark corners around the house, apply insect repellent regularly, and wear long-sleeve tops and long pants,” he said, adding that residents should ensure their homes and immediate surrounding are free from stagnant water.

As of 5 October, there are 173 active dengue clusters reported, where intensive dengue transmission is ongoing.

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