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Dengue Fever
June 18, 2007

Dengue now a Singapore epidemic
Dengue fever has reached the epidemic level in Singapore for the first time since 2005, prompting health authorities on June 20 to call for more cooperation among residents.

Cases hit 401 last week, up from 293 the week before, according to the National Environment Agency's (NEA). The number of people struck this year is 2,868, more than double the 1,392 for the corresponding period of 2006.

There have been two deaths compared to 25 during the last epidemic in 2005.

The epidemic erupted despite beefed up anti-dengue efforts, aggravated by hot weather and unusual intermittent rain favouring the breeding conditions for the dengue-carrying Aedes mosquito, officials said.

"We just need residents' cooperation," The Straits Times quoted Satish Appoo, director of the NEA's Environmental Health Department as saying. "If you remove the breeding, you remove the problem."

Details of the 77 worst hit areas are listed on NEA's website to alert Singapore's population of 4.6 million.

The NEA has been stepping up checks on homes since May, when more than 171,000 home inspections were carried out, nearly double the number from the previous month.

More than 2,300 breeding habitats have been found in homes so far this year, including flower pots and other containers of stagnant water. Residents have been reminded repeatedly to make sure water is changed frequently.

The NEA is also stepping up daily checks on drains, buildings and construction sites.

Dengue is characterised by joint pain, fever, nausea and a rash. Internal bleeding occurs in severe cases and can sometimes lead to death. DPA

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