NEA warns of possible dengue outbreak in 2023 due to high volume of cases in January

The amount of cases reported in the second week of January is almost double that of the same time period in 2022.

Benjamin Chew

Only drinks bubble tea with 100% sugar.

Published: 19 January 2023, 4:05 PM

A total of 279 dengue cases were reported in the second week of January with 82 active dengue clusters discovered as of Jan 18, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

This is almost double the amount of the cases reported in the same time period back in 2022. 

NEA warns that such high numbers of dengue cases at the start of the year increases the risk of an early surge in cases in the coming months and could lead to another dengue outbreak this year.

Of the 82 dengue clusters identified across the island, 13 of them were also found to be large clusters with 10 or more cases in the area.

Dengue virus serotype 3 (DENV-3), the predominant dengue serotype circulating across the island, was detected in 11 of these large clusters. 

According to NEA, Singapore’s population immunity to DENV-3 is low, which is why more people are susceptible to infection with this serotype.

Some clusters also have relatively fast rates of transmission, including the 81-case cluster at Hougang Avenue 1, 46-case cluster at Lorong 4 Toa Payoh and 34-case cluster at Hougang Avenue 6.

As such, there is a high risk that the large number of dengue cases will lead to the continuation of DENV-3 outbreaks in Singapore, said NEA.

As Chinese New Year approaches, NEA has also anticipated homes to be decorated with more ornamental plants in such flower pots and vases, and launched a Chinese New Year campaign to prevent the outbreak of dengue through these channels during the festive period.

Those with plants at home are advised to practise the B-L-O-C-K steps, which include breaking up hardened soil, lifting and emptying flower pot plates, overturning pails and wiping their rims, changing water in their vases, keeping their roof gutters clear and placing BTI insecticide in them.


Aside from the B-L-O-C-K steps, homeowners are also reminded to properly dispose of refuse like large furniture during their spring cleaning. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY


NEA has also stepped up inspections at all plant nurseries and also distributed dengue prevention packages to these nurseries.

These packages contain red packets and posters with dengue prevention messages which remind both plant sellers and buyers to maintain vigilance against mosquito breeding, which has become more rampant.

The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes population in December 2022 saw a 24 per cent increase compared to December 2021.

With the Aedes aegypti mosquito population on the rise and the circulation of the previously uncommon DENV-3 serotype, NEA urges the public to take collective action and maintain good housekeeping during the festive season.

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