NEA warns of possible dengue outbreak in 2023, cases in early Jan. nearly double from same period in 2022

As Singaporeans usher in 2023, there remains the potential for a dengue outbreak.

Going into 2023, the weekly dengue cases have remained high, with 279 cases reported last week, said NEA on Jan. 19.

This is almost twice the number of cases reported in the same period last year.

High rate of dengue cases

As of Dec. 2, 2022, the total number of dengue cases reported in that year was 30,969.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito population remained high in December 2022, and was found to be about 24 per cent higher as compared to December 2021.

In a press release, NEA cautioned the public, stating

“The continued high number of dengue cases at the start of the year increases the risk of an early surge in cases in the coming months, and could lead to another dengue outbreak in Singapore this year.”

As of Jan. 18, there are 82 active dengue clusters. 13 of them are large clusters, meaning the cluster has 10 or more dengue cases.

The dengue virus serotype 3 (DENV-3) remains the predominant serotype circulating across the country so far.

The Singapore population’s immunity is low for the DENV-3 serotype, NEA stated, and more people are vulnerable to being infected with this serotype.

DENV-3 was detected in 11 of the 13 large dengue clusters. According to NEA, certain clusters with high rate of dengue transmission include:

An 81-case cluster at Hougang Avenue 1

A 46-case cluster at Lorong 4 Toa Payoh

A 34-case cluster at Hougang Avenue 6

“There is thus a high risk that the large number of dengue cases will lead to continuation of last year’s DENV-3 outbreak in Singapore,” NEA said.

Lunar New Year advisory

NEA reported that the most common Aedes mosquito breeding sites found in homes in 2022 were domestic containers, flower pot plates or trays and ornamental containers such as vases.

For the upcoming Lunar New Year, NEA has called for “urgent collective action” to remove potential mosquito breeding sites.

With the Chinese New Year period, NEA anticipates that homes and other properties will be decorated with more ornamental plants. As such, it is stepping up inspection visits to plant nurseries.

Members of the public are urged to take care of their plants in order to prevent them from becoming mosquito breeding habitats.

They can do so by ensuring that water does not accumulate in the flower pot drainage plates or on top of hardened soil.

NEA also reminded homeowners to properly dispose of any waste during spring cleaning, including large furniture and household items, so as to prevent it from becoming unintentional mosquito breeding habitats.

Prevention steps

Regularly practising the following ‘B-L-O-C-K’ steps will help to minimise the risk of a dengue outbreak:

Break up hardened soil

Lift and empty flowerpot plates

Overturn pails and wipe their rims

Change water in vases

Keep roof gutters clear and place BTI insecticide

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Top image from FotoshopTofs/ Pixabay