(Stock image for illustration purposes) A key factor causing the spike in dengue cases is an increase in the population of the dengue-causing Aedes aegypti mosquito

SINGAPORE: The total number of dengue cases here in 2018 increased sharply from the previous year, with a total of 3,285 cases reported. This was almost 20 per cent more than in 2017, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a media release on Wednesday, Jan 9.

The trend has continued into the new year, with the number of cases reported increasing over the past three weeks. There was a total of 207 cases in the first week of the year.

While the number went up in 2018, it was a significant drop from the record high of 22,170 seen in 2013. There were 18,326 cases the year after, followed by 11,294 and 13,085 in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

A key factor causing the spike in dengue cases is an increase in the population of the dengue-causing Aedes aegypti mosquito, said the NEA. The agency found a 40 per cent increase in the Aedes mosquito population in Dec 2018, as compared to the same period the year before.

While the NEA said that there is “no signal for a major outbreak”, it noted that the increase in the Aedes mosquito population and high number of existing dengue cases may lead to a surge in cases this year. Concerted community action and sustained vector control efforts are needed to prevent the Aedes mosquito population and the number of dengue cases from increasing, it added.

In order to control the spread of dengue, the NEA has undertaken inspection and enforcement efforts, including approximately one million inspections for mosquito breeding that uncovered about 18,000 breeding habitats in 2018. A total of 4,100 households were fined for mosquito breeding and 40 construction sites were issued Stop Work Orders in the past year.

The NEA also urged the general public to be vigilant and remove any mosquito breeding habitats in order to prevent the spread of dengue, as well as the Zika and Chikungunya viruses.

People infected with dengue should protect themselves from further mosquito bites by applying repellent regularly, and those who exhibit dengue symptoms should also see a doctor early in order to be diagnosed.

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