Dengue on the rise in Singapore

With average daily temperatures in Singapore rising during the months of June, July and August, the mosquito population is also expected to grow in the coming months. The NEA has already noticed sharp increase in dengue cases over the last few months. Click here to see the latest figures for 2019:

Where are mosquitos found?

Mosquitos are frequently found in or near human habitations and prefers to feed on humans during the daytime. Mosquitos have two peak periods of biting activity: in the morning for several hours after daybreak and in the late afternoon for several hours before dark. The mosquito may feed at any time during the day, especially indoors, in shady areas, or when it is overcast. Mosquito breeding sites include artificial water containers such as discarded tires, uncovered barrels, buckets, flower vases or pots, cans, and cisterns.

What are the symptoms of dengue?

Dengue fever has an incubation period of 3-14 days (most commonly 4-7 days), and is characterized by sudden onset of high fever, severe frontal headache, and joint and muscle pain. Many patients have nausea, vomiting, and rash. The rash appears 3-5 days after onset of fever and can spread from the torso to the arms, legs, and face. The disease is usually a self-limiting one. There are non-specific viral symptoms in many cases, but dengue can also present as a severe, sometimes fatal disease characterized by bleeding and low blood pressure (dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome). These severe complications most commonly occur with a second (subsequent) infection.

How can you reduce the risk?

You can reduce the risk of acquiring dengue by remaining in well-screened or air-conditioned areas when possible, wearing clothing that adequately covers the arms and legs, and applying insect repellent to both skin and clothing. The most effective repellents are those containing N,N-diethylmetatoluamide (DEET).  International Medical Clinic sells the RID range (imported from Australia).

RID has the active ingredient of DEET and has been proven for decades as most effective in repelling biting insects. IMC carries the Tropical Strength range, which provides up to 6 hours protection, while our low irritant Kids RID is suitable for children over 6 months of age and provides protection for up to 2 hours.

Families travelling abroad during this summer vacation should ‘mosquito-proof’ their homes.  Simple preventive measures such as covering the toilet bowls,  gully and floor traps and clearing stagnant water in pails and vases before leaving for vacation can keep the dengue-causing mosquito at bay.

Please speak to your doctor about the new vaccine available on the market – Dengvaxia. It is recommended for individuals between the ages of 12 and 45 years have caught dengue at least once before.

The key is to protect yourself from being bitten as much as possible.

Dr. Vinu Shalén is based at IMC Camden and speaks German, English and Swedish.
Please call 6733 4440 to make an appointment.

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