This has always been the time of the year when the number of people with dengue increases as the temperature rises in Singapore.
Last week, 227 people came down with dengue.
This was the highest weekly number in four years.
It was also the third consecutive week that the number of cases had gone beyond what is considered the epidemic level.
As of 26 July 2011, there were 31 active clusters, with five clusters having more than 10 cases.
This means that there is a high possibility that there will be a rapid spread of dengue, if we do not act immediately to contain the situation.
Two factors must be present in order for a full blown epidemic to occur.
The first is that there must be infected people with the dengue virus in their blood. The second factor is that infected people must be bitten by mosquitoes who then transmit the infection by biting other people. If these people are subsequently bitten by other mosquitoes, then a chain of infection occurs.
If there are enough infected people and mosquitoes in any given area, a critical mass of infection will lead to an exploding chain reaction.
This is why we take clusters of infection so seriously – as this is how epidemics begin.
If you have a fever or suspect that you have dengue, please seek medical attention. In addition, please use insect repellants in order to reduce the risk of you being bitten and becoming the source of infection for your family members and neighbours.
It is very important to decrease the population of mosquitoes in your neighbourhood by eliminating breeding sites.
Unfortunately, over the first half of 2011, officers from NEA found 6,011 breeding sites in homes, up from 2,741 for the same period in 2005.
The Aedes mosquito is an indoor dwelling mosquito and which breeds very easily within our homes.
Consequently, the home is the commonest site where infections occur and spread from person to person easily.
Because more mosquito breeding sites are being found in homes, it is in everyone’s interests that the NEA steps up their visits to homes in a bid to ensure the safety of our families and our neighbours.
Please give your fullest support and co-operation to officers from the NEA, who will continue to visit more than 100,000 homes over the next four months in their bid to search and destroy all mosquito breeding sites.
The responsibility of destroying mosquitoes and eradicating them from our homes, though, does not lie with officers from the NEA alone.
Everyone must be on high alert and everyone has a part to play in our fight against dengue, to keep our families, our neighbours and our friends safe from infection. A simple, daily 10-minute ‘Mozzie Wipeout’ routine will clear any stagnant water from pails, vases and containers, ensure that bamboo pole holders are covered when not in use, ensure that roof gutters are not choked and remove any receptacles which contain water. All these steps will go a long way in our battle against dengue.
For more information please check the NEA website or http://www.dengue.gov.sg
We will provide up to date information on cases and locations of clusters so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
Everyone has a part to play and we must continue to keep Singapore safe for ourselves, our families and our friends.