Singapore records seven deaths and over 5,000 dengue cases in just the first quarter of 2024

Singapore records seven deaths and over 5,000 dengue cases in just the first quarter of 2024. (PHOTO:REUTERS/Edgar Su and Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Seven people have died from local dengue infection as of 25 March this year, already more than the six fatalities recorded from the entirety of 2023. This comes amid a surge in dengue infections in Singapore, with cases in the first quarter of 2024 more than doubling the numbers in the same period in 2023.

In a press release on Sunday (31 March), the National Environment Agency (NEA) said that over 5,000 dengue cases were reported so far in 2024, a spike from the 2,360 cases reported in the first quarter of last year.

“The Aedes aegypti mosquito population has also remained high, with the number of Aedes mosquito breeding habitats found at residential premises in January 2024 double that of January 2023,” NEA added.

These figures were released during the launch of the national dengue prevention campaign on Sunday, which came ahead of the traditional peak dengue season of May to October. This year’s campaign stresses that preventing dengue is a social responsibility and aims to rally the community to stay vigilant and reduce infection risk.

As of 1 April, Singapore reports 27 dengue clusters at the As of 1 April, Singapore reports 27 dengue clusters at the

As of 1 April, Singapore reports 28 dengue clusters at the “red” alert level, indicating high-risk areas with 10 or more cases. (PHOTO: NEA Website)

NEA warns of potential surge in cases amid low immunity

As of Monday morning, there are 28 dengue clusters under the “red” alert level, indicating high-risk areas with 10 or more cases. NEA’s website states that four dengue virus serotypes circulate in Singapore, with Dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) being predominant since September 2023.

Since mid-February, weekly reported dengue cases have consistently exceeded 300 on average, even though there was a slight decrease to 222 cases during the week of 24 to 28 March.

NEA said in its press release: “Our population in Singapore has low immunity to all four dengue virus serotypes too. The continued presence of all these dengue risk factors may lead to a surge in dengue cases in the coming months if insufficient action is taken.”

The agency added that a dengue outbreak was averted last year due to stepped-up prevention and control measures. This led to a decrease in the number of dengue infections by 69 per cent – from 32,173 cases in 2022 to 9,949 in 2023.

Over 813,000 inspections conducted

Last year, NEA conducted over 813,000 inspections, uncovering more than 19,600 mosquito breeding habitats. Among these habitats, 51 per cent were found in homes, 38 per cent in public areas and 5 per cent at construction sites.

The agency also reported that about 11,200 enforcement actions were conducted against premises owners for mosquito breeding, along with about 800 enforcement actions and 108 stop-work orders issued to construction sites. More than 100 contractors also faced legal charges for repeated offences.

As was the case last year, the agency reiterated that NEA will be working with stakeholders to step up community awareness and that dengue prevention initiatives remain critical in fighting dengue.

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