Is your home within a dengue cluster in Singapore?
Whilst Singapore has been battling hard to eradicate COVID-19 from our shores, dengue cases have been creeping up nationwide. According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Aedes aegypti mosquito population in April 2021 has increased by about 30% since January 2021. With this increase, comes the expected rise in the number of local dengue cases.
As of 17 December 2020, the number of dengue cases is 34,844 for 2020, which far exceeds the previous record number of 22,170 cases in 2013. These cases are located within the 79 dengue clusters in Singapore identified by the NEA.
If that’s not alarming enough, remember that dengue fever can be fatal. In August 2020, a 25-year-old became the youngest and 20th person to die from the sickness this year. As of September 2020, a total of 29 deaths due to local dengue infection have been notified.
So, even as you do your best to keep yourself safe from COVID-19, let’s not forget to also protect yourself and your loved ones from those dang mozzies. If your home is in a dengue cluster in Singapore, do take more precaution.
What Is Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever is a viral disease that is spread through the bite of a female species of an Aedes mosquito, otherwise known as Aedes aegypti. The female mosquitoes feed on blood as they need the protein to develop their eggs. Dengue cannot be directly spread from one person to another. Instead, it is transmitted when the Aedes mosquito feeds on an infected person, and then on you.
Typical symptoms of dengue fever include sudden fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, rash, appetite loss, and pain in the eyes, joints and muscles. In severe cases, victims will experience stomach pains, internal bleeding, shock and organ failure.
Dengue symptoms will usually last between two to seven days, and takes about a week (or more) to heal.
If you have any of these symptoms and suspect that you may have dengue, see a doctor immediately.
How Long Does It Take to Treat Dengue Fever?
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. However, you should drink plenty of fluids and take long rests. For severe cases, you may be hospitalised for aggressive emergency treatment, including fluid and electrolyte replacement, and/or blood transfusions.
Is There a Vaccine for Dengue Fever?
Yes, a vaccine known as Dengvaxia has been approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for use in Singapore since 2016. However, HSA recommends that you consult a doctor on its benefits and risks as the vaccine could worsen symptoms for those not previously infected with dengue.
Dengue Cluster in Singapore: What Is It?
According to NEA, a dengue cluster is a location where two or more cases have happened within 14 days and are located within 150m apart (based on residential and workplace addresses). A dengue cluster in Singapore is identified by its current status, and can be classified into three types:
High-risk area with 10 or more cases
High-risk area with less than 10 cases
No new cases recorded, but the area will be under surveillance for the next 21 days
NEA provides a live map update for high-risk dengue cluster areas.
Dengue Cluster Map (Live by NEA)
(Note: Map data is updated daily at 1am. You might need to clear your browser’s cache to view the latest information.)
Each cluster map illustrates NEA’s current vector control methods, as well as the alert level, locality, total number of cases, the number of cases in the last two weeks, and the breakdown of location and the respective number of cases. Click on the dengue cluster location to view the respective map.
This report states that dengue clusters in Singapore are more concentrated in the eastern and northern parts, such as Woodlands, Yishun, Sembawang, Geylang and Bedok. Experts say that because these areas are highly urbanised and have high human density, which allows Aedes mosquitoes to breed and feed easily.
Aedes Mosquito Top 5 Breeding Habitats
Aedes mosquitoes breed in areas that can hold stagnant water like flower pot plates, vases, hardened soil, uncovered barrels, buckets, puddles of water, and roof gutters and drains.
According to the quarterly surveillance data by NEA and the Ministry of Health (MOH), below is the breeding habitats of Aedes mosquitoes in Q1 2021 (provisional):
Top 5 breeding habitats in homes
Top 5 breeding habitats in public areas
Covered perimeter drains
Discarded receptacles (i.e. containers)
Ornamental containers (vases)
Covered carpark drains
How to Prevent Dengue Mosquito Breeding Sites in Your Home
Here’s what you can do to have a mozzie-free home:
At All Times
Turn pails and watering cans over, wipe the rims dry and store them under shelter
Loosen the hardened soil from potted plants to prevent stagnant water from accumulating on the surface
Do not block the flow of water in scupper drains along common corridors in HDB estates. Avoid placing potted plants and other equipment/items over the scupper drains
Cover rarely used gully traps at home. If possible, replace them with non-perforated ones and install anti-mosquito valves
Rainwater can be collected at bamboo pole holders, so cover the holes with a cap when not in use
Avoid placing air-conditioning trays or receptacles beneath or on top of any air-conditioning unit as it may accumulate stagnant water. If there’s water dripping from the outdoor AC unit in HDB blocks, you should ensure that you have HDB’s patented air-conditioner trays installed, or ensure that the AC unit is properly installed and maintained
Clear stagnant water from dish rack trays
Every Other Day
Remove water in plant pot plates. Clean and scrub the plate thoroughly to remove mosquito eggs. Avoid the use of plant pot plates, if possible
Change the water in flower vases. Clean and scrub the inner sides to remove any mosquito eggs. Wash the roots of flowers and plants with running water to remove mosquito eggs
Once a Week
Clear leaves, debris and stagnant water in your scupper drains and garden. The leaves could collect water or cause blockages to the drains which could result in the buildup of stagnant water
Change the water in pet bowls
Change the water in the fish tank
If you have a lawn, keep the grass trimmed and short
Once a Month
Add sand granular insecticide into vases, gully traps and roof gutters, even if they are dry
Clear your roof gutters and apron drains and treat it with Bti insecticide
Other Preventive Measures
Apply mosquito repellent regularly
Spray insecticide in dark corners including closets, curtains and under the bed
Introduce larvivorous fish species such as guppies in water containers as a form of biological control
According to NEA, the incidence rate for residents living in landed homes is six times higher than those living in HDB flats. The reason is that landed homes typically have a bigger variety of structures and receptacle types, these include flower pots, containers, water fountains roof gutters and drains within the compound. If you have indoor plants, you should take care that water does not collect in those containers too.
So, if you live in a landed home, be sure to take extra precautionary measures apart from the ones mentioned above, such as scrubbing the interior surface of water fountains to remove attached mosquito eggs.
More FAQs Related to Dengue Clusters in Singapore
How Many Dengue Cases Are There in Singapore?
As of 27th November 2020, the number of dengue cases is 33,956, which has way exceeded the previous record number of 22,170 in 2013.
Is Dengue Fever Common in Singapore?
Unfortunately, dengue fever has become prevalent in Singapore.
Why Are Dengue Cases Increasing in Singapore?
This could be due to the weather that Singapore experiences, with the warmer months of May to September accelerating breeding and maturation cycles for the Aedes mosquitoes.
Can I Contract Dengue Twice?
Yes, it is possible to contract dengue fever more than once in your life.
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