Another dengue outbreak? If you are not surprised by this, you are not alone. With Singapore being a tropical urban jungle, Aedesmosquitoes are inevitable all year round as dengue vectors.
But how many of us really know about dengue and Aedesmosquitoes?
Dengue is transmitted between humans by infected Aedesmosquitoes
Not all Aedesmosquitoes carry dengue virus. Plus, dengue does not spread directly from person to person like a regular flu would.
A female Aedesmosquito only acquires dengue virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person. Then it bites another person in its next blood meal, thus transmitting the virus to the next person.
There is no cure for dengue
Currently, the only treatment available for dengue involves maintaining patient’s body fluid level and administration of paracetamol to manage fever and reduce joint pains.
Dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome are severe forms of dengue fever that could result in death, but it can be mitigated with timely medical care.
Hence, it is very important for patients to seek professional medical help immediately when dengue is suspected.
Early detection of symptoms saves lives
According to Ministry of Health Singapore, dengue fever usually develops within 4-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Sudden onset of fever for 2-7 days (high fever of 40°C)
Severe headache with pain behind eyes
Joint and muscle pain
Nausea and vomiting
Bleeding from the nose or gums or easy bruising in the skin
There is vaccine for dengue
Health Sciences Authority(HSA) has approved a vaccine for prevention of dengue infection in individuals aged 12-45 years. However, as part of necessary safeguards, this dengue vaccine is not part of Singapore’s national immunisation programme as there is risk of higher incidence of severe dengue following vaccination in individuals who do not have previous dengue infection.
Hence, it is recommended that individuals interested in getting the vaccine should consult their doctors on their suitability, as well as the benefits and risks of the vaccination.
You can prevent mosquito breeding
The best measure against dengue virus is to eliminate Aedesmosquito breeding.Aedesmosquitoes breed in clear stagnant water commonly found around homes and buildings.
Common hot spots for mosquito breeding around homes are flower pots, containers and plastic sheets.
National Environment Agency (NEA) has great tips to prevent mosquito breeding for residents as part of its 5-Step Mozzie Wipeout campaign.
You can prevent mosquito bites
It always pays to be prepared when stepping outdoors, especially to places where mosquitoes tend to thrive. Cover up with long clothing, use mosquito nets and apply appropriate insect repellents correctly. Skin-on repellents must be re-applied frequently, especially after sweating or towelling, to ensure continuous coverage against mosquito bites.
You can check out current updates on dengue clusters
Curious if your neighbourhood is a dengue cluster? NEA has a dedicated website where you can find out latest updates on dengue cases and status of dengue clusters all over Singapore.
© Jo-Lynn Teh, BCE
Jo-Lynn Teh is ESA Board Certified Entomologist based in Singapore. While her specialisation is on tropical insects that affect public health and agriculture, Jo-Lynn’s passion is also to help people understand insects. Find her on LinkedIn.