Don't go viral: Long pants, long sleeves can help prevent dengue, says NEA

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·3-min read
NEA dengue inspection officers checking drains for mosquito breeding. (PHOTO: National Environment Agency)
NEA dengue inspection officers checking drains for mosquito breeding. (PHOTO: National Environment Agency)

SINGAPORE — The National Environment Agency (NEA) is advising residents, especially those living in dengue cluster areas, to wear long sleeves and long pants as it tries to bring down the number of cases amid the traditional dengue season.

In a media release on Wednesday (5 August), NEA listed three protective actions in which residents can take:

  • Spray insecticide in dark corners around the house

  • Apply insect repellent regularly

  • Wear long sleeves and long pants

INFO: National Environment Agency
INFO: National Environment Agency

“Such protective measures are important to break the cycle of transmission, by preventing the Aedes mosquito from biting human hosts and spreading the dengue virus to others in the vicinity,” NEA said in the media release.

“As the traditional dengue peak season lasts a few months, from May to October, NEA urgently seeks the cooperation of all residents and stakeholders to do their part to complement NEA’s efforts.”

More than 22,000 reported dengue cases in 2020

As of Tuesday, there have been 22,403 reported dengue cases this year – already exceeding the previous entire-year record of 22,170 cases recorded in 2013.

For the past two months, the weekly dengue cases have exceed 1,000 cases, although the number has decline from a high of 1,792 in the third week of July to 1,380 in the week ending 1 August.

There has also been a decline in number of dengue clusters, from 434 on 28 July to 391 as of Tuesday. Nonetheless, there are still more than 600,000 households located amid the dengue clusters islandwide.

NEA said it has closed about 79 per cent of the dengue clusters (1,466 of 1,857 clusters) since the start of the year. The largest dengue clusters are currently found in Geylang (312 cases), Bukit Panjang (292 cases) and Tanjong Katong (286 cases).

“The current conditions are challenging, with a combination of high viral load with the record number of weekly cases, high mosquito population with the dengue season in full swing, and also more targets with more people working from home,” said NEA chief executive officer Tan Meng Dui.

“Concerted individual and collective efforts are the most effective ways to break the dengue transmission chain, and bring the dengue situation under control.”

Inspections and outreach programmes

NEA has conducted more than 552,000 inspections islandwide between January and July. It is also working with partners such as the People’s Association, Ministry of Education, Early Childhood Development Agency, Ministry of Health/Agency for Integrated Care, Ministry of Manpower and National Parks Board to distribute educational materials and mosquito repellent to residents in dengue cluster areas.

All residents living in dengue cluster areas are strongly encouraged to cooperate with NEA officers, and facilitate their checks and indoor misting in their homes.

NEA encourages residents to use the resources available on its website and myENV app to receive updates on the dengue situation, and to take proactive action to protect themselves and their loved ones. It has a “Check and Protect” checklist, highlighting common mosquito breeding habitats, which is available for download.

Regular updates on the dengue situation can be found on the NEA website, Stop Dengue Now Facebook page, and myENV app. The public can also download the myENV app to get regular alerts on dengue clusters and areas with higher Aedes aegypti mosquito population.

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