Singapore dengue cases in 2023 surpass 300 weekly mark for the first time

NEA alerts public of rise in dengue cases with 69 active clusters and a concerning dengue virus serotype shift

In 2023, dengue cases surge past 300 weekly for the first time.
In 2023, dengue cases surge past 300 weekly for the first time. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE — The number of reported dengue cases has exceeded 300 weekly for the first time this year, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Over the past two weeks, there have been significant spikes in reported cases, with 330 cases reported between 10 and 16 September, and 303 cases between 17 and 23 September, as per data from the NEA website.

Between Sunday and Tuesday, an additional 124 cases have been reported. These latest figures have pushed the total number of dengue cases in 2023 to more than 7,000.

Additionally, two reported deaths in 2023 were attributed to local dengue infections as of June, according to NEA's quarterly dengue surveillance data.

Comparatively, last year witnessed over 32,000 reported dengue cases, marking the second-highest annual total, with the highest being in 2020, with more than 35,000 reported cases.

69 active clusters, alarming rise in dengue virus serotype 1

As of Monday, there are 69 active dengue clusters, with nine of them classified as "red alert" clusters with 10 or more cases.

Notable clusters in the "red alert" category include Toa Payoh Lorong 1A, Science Park Drive, Club Street and Lentor Loop.

NEA has also highlighted concerns about the increased proportion of the previously less prevalent dengue virus serotype 1 (Denv-1).

"The rise in proportion of a previously less prevalent dengue virus serotype is of concern, as this has historically been associated with a surge in dengue cases months later," it said on its website.

The agency also pointed out that dengue transmission tends to be higher in Singapore during the warmer months, from May to October. This is primarily due to the Aedes mosquito vector's accelerated growth and the dengue virus multiplying faster in mosquitoes during this period.

69 active dengue clusters with 9 'red alert' clusters, according to NEA data as of Monday.
69 active dengue clusters with 9 'red alert' clusters, according to NEA data as of Monday. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

Preventing mosquito breeding and reducing aedes population

The NEA has urged the public to promptly act to stop mosquito breeding by following a set of guidelines referred to as the "S-A-W" steps, which include: spraying insecticide in shaded areas around their residences, applying insect repellent on a regular basis, and wearing long-sleeved tops and long pants.

The agency emphasised the importance of all residents taking action to reduce the Aedes mosquito population by consistently following the "B-L-O-C-K" steps

  • Breaking up hardened soil

  • Lifting and emptying flowerpot plates

  • Overturning pails and wiping their rims

  • Changing water in vases

  • Keeping roof gutters clear and place BTI insecticide inside

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