THE number of dengue cases in Singapore’s South West District has increased by 24.8 per cent in the first four months of the year. There were 166 cases, compared with 133 in the same period last year, said district Mayor Amy Khor. The number of dengue clusters has also doubled from four to eight in the same period. Speaking at the launch of Operation Mozzie-Free 2011@South West, an annual programme to raise awareness about dengue prevention, Dr Khor, who is also Minister of State for Health, said the rise in dengue cases is a cause for concern as it comes amid a decline of cases nationwide.
There were 1,208 cases in Singapore as of April 30 this year, compared with 1,348 last year. Dr Khor said: “What we are worried about is that people may become complacent; that they do not maintain vigilance. And this is one of the reasons why every year, we’ll launch Operation Mozzie-Free within the district.” When asked what might have caused the increase, she said she could not pinpoint any factors. She added that the top breeding places remain in homes, specifically domestic containers and flowerpot plates.
Yesterday’s launch, organised by the National Environment Agency and South West Community Development Council, will see initiatives rolled out in anticipation of the dengue season, which usually lasts from June to September. Mozzie Free Gardens@South West is one such initiative. Residents will be trained to be “garden sheriffs” and ensure the community gardens under their charge do not have any potential breeding grounds. As part of the drive to improve outreach, 128 banners with dengue prevention messages will be placed at strategic locations in all 18 constituencies in South West District.