Over 7,300 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Singapore since the beginning of 2013, and the incidence of this unpleasant disease is expected to rise even higher. Be prepared, and don’t be one of the unlucky ones.
What is dengue fever?
It’s a severe, flu-like illness that’s transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito.
What does an Aedes mosquito look like?
It has black and white stripes on its body.
What are the symptoms?
It usually takes four to seven days before a person infected with the virus starts to show symptoms. They might experience a sudden onset of fever (which can last for up to seven days). This can be accompanied by headaches, muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea and a rash.
Can dengue fever be life-threatening?
Severe infections can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which causes bleeding and can result in death. However, statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) claim that dengue haemorrhagic fever represented less than one percent of the 21,000 officially reported cases in Singapore between 2000 and 2004.
Is it infectious?
No, not person-to-person. The virus is passed on to humans only when they are bitten by an infective female Aedes mosquito; likewise, the mosquito generally acquire the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person.
What should I do if I think I have dengue fever?
Visit a doctor, rest and drink plenty of fluids. Try to stay away from areas where there are mosquitoes, to avoid being bitten and thus spreading the virus to other people. If you develop severe pain or persistent vomiting, go to a hospital immediately.
Can I be immunised against it?
No. However, there are four strains of the virus here in Singapore; having been infected by one usually gives lifelong immunity to only that type, but only short-term immunity to the others.
What’s the best prevention?
Avoid getting bitten. Apply insect repellent before you enter areas where there are mosquitoes. On alternate days, remove water from flowerpots, vases, toilet brush holders and empty anything that stores or collects water outside; stagnant water is where mosquitoes breed. If you are going on holidays, put the lid of the toilet down.
*Areas with the highest number of reported cases up to May 2013*:
Changi Road/Jalan Eunos
Choa Chu Kang
Check dengue.gov.sg for the latest information
– Statistics: Ministry of Health Singapore