Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dengue in Singapore

The Danger Is Real

Often, we underestimate the possible consequences of getting mosquito bites and I am guilty of this myself. I will bring along insect-repellents for my family when we go outdoors with chances of mosquito bite. Because I hated applying any stuff on myself, and I will not attempt to spray any unless I really get a few bites first. So I was really more concerned about the discomfort and itchiness of the bites instead of the very dangers of mosquito-transmitted diseases such as dengue. I should know better now, after getting to know about my sister-in-law’s close brush with death, which still gives her the chills whenever she thinks about her hospital stay.

Dengue is not only a local problem.
The year 2016 had seen an increase of dengue cases by over 16% to 13,115 from 11,298 the previous year and there were 9 deaths based on NEA’s data. Overwhelming majority of those infected recovers from the disease and mortality rate remains low. Amongst those infected, many suffered greatly, experiencing muscle aches and weakness day by day. They all had to fight their own battles, required daily blood tests and can only hold on to the hope that their body recovers and their white blood cells count get back to normal. But the fact remains that dengue KILLS!

Dengue occurs all year round in Singapore, with 4 sero-types strains co-circulating in Singapore. In year 2016, DENV-2 was the predominant strain for the first half of the year but was overtaken by DENV-1 in the last few months. The one good thing about getting dengue once, is that you develop immunity from that particular sero-type BUT having 4 different sero-types here in Singapore meant that you can potentially get dengue up to four times in your life, and developing severe dengue hemorrhagic fever as well. And the worst part is that a re-infection by a different strain places one at a higher risk of developing hemorrhagic fever! The hypothesis on this phenomena is that the antibodies produced after an infection may actually aid another strain of the virus in infecting cells, rather than blocking it. Hence the only possibility for one to get full protection from dengue, would be after one gets infected with all 4 strains. Definitely not something I will want to try!

The Singapore government recognizes this as an economic threat as well, and spends a considerable amount of resources on public education because a pandemic in tiny Singapore can easily happen if we ever let our guards down. I am sorry but it is not the economy I care about personally, but I do know that it is going to affect my own whole family if my loved ones are affected, just like in the case of my sister-in-law.

I had just recovered from a bout of serious flu recently and it took me over 2 weeks to get back to my usual routine. I was basically sleeping in whenever possible and felt lethargic all the time. Thus kudos to my wife for holding the fort during this period. I know for a fact that if any one of us were to fall ill due to dengue, it would simply be too catastrophic!

Keep Homes Free of Mosquito Breeding Sites

The largest proportion of mosquito breeding sites found remained to be in residential premises. But I should know better that a simple oversight could lead to a potential life-threatening situation in my own home. There was once when I only topped up the water bowl for my pet, without realizing that there were already larvae growing out in the bowl. Luckily I managed to kill them before they metamorphosed into flying blood-sucking females! Mosquitoes don’t discriminate and will go for any human. We certainly do not want to contribute to the dengue statistics, so what exactly can we do about it? For starters, how about these steps -

5-Step Mozzie Wipeout
  1. Change water in vases / bowls on alternate days. 
  2. Turn over all water storage containers.  
  3. Remove water from flower pot plates on alternate days. 
  4. HDB: Cover bamboo pole holders when not in use. 
  5. Private: Clear blockages and put Bti insecticides in roof gutters monthly.

Dengue is a potential killer and mosquitos should never be taken lightly. Take precautions with insect-repellents whenever you had to go outdoors, especially within dengue clusters and set a good example for the kiddos by applying insect-repellents faithfully. Report any possible public mosquito-breeding sites to through NEA website and we can all play our part in making Singapore a safer place for everybody.

Do share with us any of your dengue story on this blog or in the Facebook post! #BeAWallAgainstDengue

[Sponsored Post]

No comments :

Post a Comment