NEA Cautions Against Complacency In Fight Against Dengue

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MIL OSI Asia Pacific

Source: Asia Pacific Region 2 – Singapore

Headline: NEA Cautions Against Complacency In Fight Against Dengue

While current number of dengue cases are relatively low, warmer months of June to October could lead to higher transmission of dengue in Singapore

Singapore, 14 May 2017 – The National Environment Agency (NEA) launched the 2017 National Dengue Prevention Campaign, ‘Do the Mozzie Wipeout’, island-wide today[1]. Speaking at the main launch event at the North East District, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, cautioned against complacency in the light of the current low dengue case situation. While cases so far this year are fewer than those in recent years, NEA has found from its surveillance that the mosquito population remains high. There can be a reversal in the case trend in the coming months, particularly during the traditional peak dengue season from June to October, if we do not take steps to keep the mosquito population in check. NEA urges members of the public and stakeholders to stay vigilant, and work together as a community to stem dengue transmission by practising the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout regularly as a way of life.

Increase in cases expected  

2          While the current number of dengue cases is relatively low, all stakeholders need to sustain prevention efforts as we enter the traditional peak dengue season. The warmer months of June to October are when there is usually higher transmission of dengue in Singapore, due to accelerated breeding and maturation cycles for the Aedes mosquitoes and shorter incubation periods for the dengue virus. NEA therefore urges all members of the public and stakeholders to continue to work together as a community to stem dengue transmission. 

3          The Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main vector of dengue, also transmits Zika. Hence, preventive measures implemented will not only help to stem dengue transmission but also prevent the transmission of Zika in Singapore. Most people infected with the Zika virus do not develop symptoms, which further heightens the risk of a Zika resurgence. Since the start of 2017, there have been five Zika clusters, all of which are located in the same vicinity, indicating that transmission is ongoing in the area. Four Zika clusters have since closed and one remains at Highland Rd / Jansen Cl / Jln Sahabat / Kovan Rd / Upp S’goon Rd (D’Pavilion). Vector control operations efforts are ongoing.

 Efforts to stem dengue and Zika transmission                                  

 4          NEA, together with the various agencies and other stakeholders represented in the Inter-Agency Dengue Task Force (IADTF), including Town Councils, have stepped up checks leading up to the traditional peak dengue season to rid our public areas and housing estates of potential mosquito breeding habitats. As of 31 March 2017, NEA has conducted about 290,000 inspections, including 1,900 conducted at construction sites. NEA uncovered about 2,700 instances of mosquito breeding habitats.

 5          NEA also continues to focus on areas with higher potential for dengue transmission such as construction sites. Through our concerted efforts, working with the Singapore Contractors Association Ltd (SCAL) and industry leaders, fewer construction sites have been found to be breeding mosquitoes, from 11 per cent in 2013 to about six per cent this year as of 31 March. NEA continues to strictly enforce action against such construction sites found with mosquito breeding, with about 120 Notices to Attend Court and over 10 Stop Work Orders issued. About five court prosecutions were also taken against contractors for repeat offences.

 Update on Project Wolbachia – Singapore

 6          NEA has been conducting a small-scale field study at three selected sites located at Braddell Heights, Tampines West and Nee Soon East. NEA is in the final phase of the Wolbachia small-scale field study, which will conclude at end-May 2017. NEA will further analyse the data collected to plan for the suppression trial. The study has thus far provided valuable ecological information on the behaviour of mosquitoes in Singapore. The suppression trial will enable NEA to test the utility and effectiveness of using male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in suppressing the urban Aedes aegypti mosquito population. While NEA explores the potential ofWolbachia technology, source eradication of mosquito breeding habitats and spraying of insecticides where necessary to control the adult mosquito population, remains essential for dengue prevention in Singapore.

 Community-led efforts key to mosquito prevention

 7          Community-led efforts are important in helping to reduce the mosquito population and stem dengue transmission. Source eradication of mosquito breeding habitats and indoor spraying of insecticides where adult mosquitoes are detected remain the key to dengue prevention. All stakeholders must practise the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout regularly as a way of life.

 8          The campaign launch will be followed by island-wide outreach efforts across the five districts at different constituencies. This campaign will be supported by the local Grassroots Advisers and the community, with the mobilisation of grassroots leaders and Dengue Prevention Volunteers (DPVs). They will conduct patrols to check for potential breeding habitats in common areas around their neighbourhoods and house visits to advise residents on common mosquito breeding habitats and to share dengue prevention tips.

 9          To date, NEA has trained more than 8,500 DPVs, comprising grassroots leaders, PA Community Emergency and Response Teams (CERT) members, students, senior citizens and residents. These volunteers help to advise residents on common mosquito breeding habitats and dengue prevention tips during house visits and community events, and check for potential breeding areas in common areas around their neighbourhoods. Refer to Annex A for roles of residents and DPVs in preventing dengue.

 10        Persons infected with dengue should protect themselves from mosquito bites by applying repellent regularly, and those showing symptoms suggestive of dengue should see their doctors early to be diagnosed. The latest updates on the dengue situation can be found on the Stop Dengue Now Facebook page, www.nea.gov.sg/dengue or the myENV app.



[1]The campaign was also concurrently launched by Mayor Low Yen Ling together with Senior Minister of State, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources at the South West District, Mayor Teo Ho Pin at North West District and Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Finance & Ministry of Law Ms Indranee Thurai Rajah at the Central Singapore District and Grassroots Adviser Ms Cheryl Chan at the South East District.

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For more information, please contact us at 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632) or submit your enquiries electronically via the Online Feedback Form or myENV mobile application.

ANNEX A

ROLES OF RESIDENTS AND DENGUE PREVENTION VOLUNTEERS

IN PREVENTING DENGUE 

Residents

  • Practise the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout regularly
  • Apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Spray insecticide in dark corners of the home such as under the bed and sofa, and behind curtains
  • Cover toilet bowls, sinks and gully traps and ensure there is no stagnant water at home, before leaving for vacation
  • Seek medical treatment early if feeling unwell
  • Participate in dengue prevention campaigns in the neighbourhood

Dengue Prevention Volunteers

  • Dengue Prevention Volunteers complement NEA’s outreach efforts, in helping to disseminate the knowledge of dengue prevention among residents and the community, so that they can carry out these efforts on a sustained basis.

NEA welcomes more volunteers from the community to join us. Interested members of the public can do so by contacting our dengue hotline at 1800-X-DENGUE (1800-933-6483), emailing dengue@nea.gov.sg, or signing up through the ‘Stop Dengue Now’ Facebook page.

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