Dengue cases reached a new high of 554 in the week between Jan 3 and Jan 9, the latest figures published on the National Environment Agency (NEA) website showed. This was 96 cases more than the 448 – the highest in 2015 – reported from Dec 27 to Jan 2. Another 50 cases were reported on Jan 10 (Sunday), while there were 71 cases as of 3.30pm on Monday.
NEA has urged members of the public to take immediate action to stem the further increase in cases. Members of the public can play their part to stem dengue transmission by checking their premises daily for potential mosquito breeding habitats and removing them.
Residents with plants in vases should change the water and scrub the inside of the vases every other day, while those infected with dengue should apply repellent regularly to prevent the spread of the virus.
What is Dengue?
Dengue fever is the most common insect borne viral illness. It is estimated that over 100 million cases of Dengue Fever occur annually on a worldwide basis. It is a condition that occurs in tropical countries of Asia, Africa, central America and South America. It is becoming more common and widespread, with cases now in Florida.
Dengue is characterised by an abrupt onset of high fever, severe headache (usually located behind the eyes), and severe back, muscle and joint ache, and abdominal pain. Vomiting is common in the early stages. This may be associated with a fine skin rash after 3-5 days. The condition may last for 10 days to 4 weeks and is usually self limiting.
In some cases a severe form of the disease may occur called Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF). This can be fatal and hence the need for early medical diagnosis and management. DHF is more common if you have had Dengue before and in the young. Symptoms include bleeding (gums/nose/skin/gastro intestinal traces). This happens when the platelets (factors in the blood that help in clotting) fall to dangerously low levels.
Most young children do not have symptoms when infected with dengue.
How is Dengue spread?
Dengue is spread most commonly by the mosquito Aedes Aegypti. This mosquito can be found in both urban and rural settings. They tend to be most active during the daytime and can be present indoors.
The breeding sites for the mosquitoes can be small collections of water such as may be contained in an empty can, motor car tyre, the base of a pot plant, a blocked roof gutter or in a natural reservoir (e.g. pooling water resting on vegetation).
The symptoms of the illness usually begin 4-6 days after the Aedes mosquito bite.