Parliament Q&A

Written Reply by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Studies to Predict Dengue Clusters, on 5 Aug 2019

TOPICS: Dengue

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether NEA has done any study to determine the existence of a pattern of where dengue clusters form so that preventive action can be carried out.

Reply by Mr Masagos Zulkifli:                        

          The National Environmental Agency (NEA) has conducted scientific studies to study the risk of dengue transmission across Singapore. One example is the use of big data and geographic information systems to analyse mosquito breeding and dengue transmission patterns. These studies have found that the risk of dengue transmission increases with higher population density, Aedes aegypti population, extent of urbanisation and historical incidence of dengue. This provides a useful guide for NEA’s vector control operations. For instance, before the traditional dengue season every year, NEA deploys additional manpower to areas identified as higher risk to conduct intensive source reduction activities to remove mosquito breeding habitats.

2        Throughout the year, NEA conducts routine inspections and search-and-destroy operations guided by data collected by the Aedes surveillance system, which comprises 50,000 Gravitraps deployed islandwide. Developed in-house, Gravitraps are designed to attract and trap adult female Aedes mosquitoes, the vector responsible for the transmission of dengue, chikungunya and zika. The surveillance system shows that a persistently high Aedes aegypti population increases the risk of localised dengue transmission and the odds of a dengue cluster forming. An additional 14,000 Gravitraps are progressively being deployed to increase the area of coverage.

3        Everyone has a part to play in preventing the spread of dengue. Between January and June this year, about 70% of mosquito breeding habitats detected in dengue clusters were found in homes. The community must play its part and step up the eradication of mosquito breeding habitats by practising the 5-step Mozzie Wipe-out regularly. Effective source reduction by all stakeholders is key to preventing the formation of dengue clusters and disrupting the transmission cycles of the dengue virus in our community.

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