More than 100 people have been infected by chikungunya virus in Singapore in 2013, a steep rise from just three to six cases annually between 2010–2012. Most of the cases are in the Kranji-Sungei Kadut area, but a growing cluster has emerged in the Bukit Timah area.
This painful mosquito-borne disease is not endemic in Singapore, unlike dengue, which is raging in the eastern part of Singapore. Between 2010–2012, there were between 12 and 26 cases of chikungunya a year, of which only three to six each year were contracted in Singapore.
Both dengue and chikungunya are spread by the Aedes mosquito, the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus.
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The number of dengue cases in Singapore is quickly approaching the 6,000 mark, with over 5,800 cases reported as of 5 May in 2013.
Housing estates that are not dengue hotspots are determined to keep it that way. Grassroots leader Kholyn Suarez, who is leading her troop of grassroots volunteers in the fight against Aedes mosquitoes, is telling residents to keep watch even though Sembawang Division is not a dengue hotspot. Lending firepower to the effort is National Development Minister and Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC, Khaw Boon Wan.
A door-to-door approach has been taken to remind people to rid their premises of conducive breeding conditions for Aedes mosquitoes. “It’s one of the best solutions where we can also inform everyone what’s going on and what to do about it, especially nowadays we have a lot of dengue cases. So, one of the things maybe we can help is educate and inform them,” said Kholyn Suarez, grassroots leader from Sembawang Zone ‘F’ Residents’ Committee. Residents have also been given mosquito patches to drive away mosquitoes.
Two dengue cases have so far been reported in Sembawang Division’s Zone ‘F’. Resident Deen Jehabaideen said: “We have to do our part and it’s very important to let other people know, from their part, what they can do to avoid this dengue case.” Sembawang Division’s grassroots leaders intend to cover as many of the 120-odd blocks of flats as possible to spread the message that dengue prevention is better than cure.
(Channel NewsAsia 5/5/2013)
According to the latest figures on the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) website, there were 515 cases for the week of 14 to 20 April 2013. During the week of 7 to 13 April 2013, there were 493 cases. Four hundred and six cases were reported in the week of 31 March to 6 April 2013. As of 21 and 22 April 201, 75 cases were reported. For the first 16 weeks of 2013, there have been 4,850 reported cases of dengue fever.
NEA said flower pot plates and trays continue to be the main breeding areas. The authority found 400 Aedes mosquito breeding habitats in flower pot plates and trays. It also added that some plants may be breeding habitats for mosquitoes. Water can be trapped by dried leaves, encouraging breeding in just two days. Banana trees and palm trees are also potential breeding sites. That’s because the space in between the stem and leaf may trap water after rain. But NEA said these plants are not commonly found in homes.
Ten dengue clusters are now on red alert level. These are defined as high-risk areas with 10 or more reported cases. Topping the list is the area that includes Tampines St 12, St 21 and 22 where 123 cases have been reported so far in 2013.
Residents in the affected areas are urged to take preventive actions to protect against dengue. Those diagnosed with dengue are encouraged to use mosquito nets when sleeping and applying insect repellent to break the dengue transmission chain.
(Channel NewsAsia 4/23/2013)