Monday, January 25, 2016

Dengue in Singapore

Warm weather conditions have caused significant increase in dengue cases in Singapore in January 2016. In the week ending 16 January 2016, 628 dengue cases were reported which is higher than the cases in the same week in 2013 (last major outbreak in Singapore was 2013 dengue outbreak).

Warmer weather conditions are causing faster breeding and maturing cycle for aedes mosquitoes and there is thus an increase in the mosquito population.

What is Dengue Fever?

 Dengue Fever and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (a more severe form) is an illness caused by infection with a virus transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. There are four serotypes of this virus (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4) which can infect you.

There is currently no drug for dengue but there is an intense effort to develop a dengue vaccine. Most cases follow a classic, non-fatal virus infection but in a small proportion of the cases, the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.

Aedes aegypti a.k.a  yellow fever mosquito

Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquito within the genus Aedes, principally Aedes aegypti. The mosquito can be recognized by white markings on its legs and a marking in the form of a lyre on the upper surface of the thorax (see below image). Also follow the link if you want to check out how does aedes mosquito looks like.

Aedes aegypti a.k.a  yellow fever mosquito
Females of Aedes aegypti a.k.a  yellow fever mosquito is the principal vector for dengue fever.
Active Dengue Clusters in Singapore

Singapore government hangs these big banners with red, green and yellow dots in dengue clusters *(see color coded dengue alert system) but these are easy to miss. Checking active dengue clusters in Singapore in National Environment Agency's Dengue page can help you to do simple plans to reduce your chance to have dengue. Today for example, I have realized that my workplace, my house and my kid's kindergarden are all just next to active dengue clusters only after checking the active dengue clusters web page. This means no outside park play around my house and kindergarden as well as using bus instead of walking from work to MRT.  

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