Singapore Dengue Cases Hit Year’s Peak

SINGAPORE ~ Dengue fever cases in affluent Singapore have surged to their highest level this year and remain at epidemic levels, official figures showed on Tuesday.

Health Ministry figures showed 432 people were infected last week, the second week in a row that the number of cases exceeded the ministry’s “epidemic threshold” of 378 cases per week.

“Singapore is facing an increase in dengue cases,” the ministry and the National Environment Agency said in a joint statement.

“The recent spells of intermittent rain coupled with warm weather has provided the mosquito ample opportunities to breed in minute pools of stagnant water all over the island,” they said.

Three people have died from dengue and there have been 4,029 cases of the disease in the first 27 weeks of the year, a figure which is up sharply from 1,679 in the same period last year.

Singapore experienced its worst dengue outbreak in 2005 when 19 people died and more than 13,000 were infected.

The city-state has launched a massive publicity campaign to educate residents.

It has also stepped up efforts to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds in the city which has a reputation as one of Asia’s cleanest.

Dengue is traditionally associated with poorer tropical countries. The disease leads to a sudden onset of fever with severe headaches, muscle and joint pains, and rashes.

In Thailand, meanwhile, cases of dengue fever have risen 36 percent since last year, local media reported.

The outbreak has killed 17 people in Thailand and affected more than 21,000 since the beginning of the year, according to press accounts of figures from the Health Ministry.

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