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Jurong, Singapore: Dengue

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    Posted: May 06 2018 at 5:20am

Jurong West residents take precautions after dengue outbreak

Published06 May, 2018
Updated 06 May, 2018

SINGAPORE – Jurong West resident Noorul Zunaid, 49, was surprised when he recently heard of the three deadly dengue cases in his neighbourhood, but the father of two was not alarmed by the news.

“I don't notice a lot of mosquitoes around,” said Mr Noorul, who also runs a convenience store in the area.

He was not too worried as he said that the National Environment Agency (NEA) had been actively inspecting the area and treating potential breeding spots over the past three weeks.

Madam Ivy Tan shared the same sentiment as her neighbour.

“I'm healthy, so I'm not worried...and I'm very careful too,” said the 59-year-old in Mandarin.

However, these residents were not taking their chances.

Madam Tan said she does not use a plant saucer for her plants, and she claimed her pot of lemongrass helps to keep the mosquitoes away.

On his end, Mr Noorul instructed his maid to ensure there was no stagnant water in the home.

One resident, who only wanted to be known as Ms Goh, said she had been applying mosquito repellent on her three children, especially when it rains.

“Everytime after it rains, a lot of mosquitoes come out,” said the 30-year-old customer service officer.

Residents of Block 932 Jurong West Street 92, which is beside an identified dengue cluster, were paid a house visit by Mr Yee Chia Hsing, Member of Parliament for Chua Chu Kang GRC, on Sunday (May 6) morning. Mr Yee spoke to them about the precautions they could take to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, and also handed out educational pamphlets and bottles of insect repellent. He was accompanied by representatives from the People’s Association, Town Council, Residents’ Committee and the NEA.  

While no home inspections were carried out by the group on Sunday, residents were told about potential mosquito breeding spots if they were clearly visible.

“Despite this being a (dengue) red zone, you still see there are water trays for plants that collect (stagnant) water,” said Mr Yee, who stressed that residents’ cooperation was important in the fight against dengue.

Mr Yee added that, contrary to the residents’ beliefs that dengue breeding spots are located in common areas, 70 per cent are found in homes.

These could be anything from a pail of water that a resident forgot about, to even dish drying racks that had accumulated too much water.

“Everyone has to be extra vigilant and keep a lookout,” said Mr Yee.

To date, six households within the dengue cluster have been uncontactable despite multiple visits and attempts by NEA to reach the owners.

Mr Yee said that the agency would be doing a forced entry “this coming week”.

It was impossible to ascertain if there was stagnant water within these households, but he added: “We are leaving no stone unturned.”

The Sunday house visits came a day after the Ministry of Health (MOH) and NEA announced the deaths of three people living within the dengue cluster in Jurong West – the largest this year – due to the virus.

The first case involved a 68-year-old Singaporean woman who died on April 13 while overseas. About two weeks later, a 41-year-old Singaporean man was admitted to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) for dengue. His condition deteriorated, and he died on May 3. That same day, another 63-year-old Singaporean woman died.

The deaths were among 60 dengue cases reported in the cluster of 10 blocks (Blocks 933, 940, 943, 945, 946, 947, 948, 949, 950 and 952) in Jurong West Street 91, and two blocks (Blocks 920 and 928) in Jurong West Street 92.

Commenting on the Jurong West dengue outbreak on his Facebook page on Saturday, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, said that both MOH and NEA are currently investigating the factors that may have contributed to the severe cases in the cluster.

Since NEA was notified of the cluster on April 3, Mr Masagos said that “140 NEA officers (were mobilised) to the area to step up inspections and outreach efforts.”

According to NEA, multiple rounds of checks were carried out, both in the day and in the evenings when residents were back from work, as well as on weekends. As at May 3, a total of 117 breeding habitats were detected.

Of these, 82 were found in residential premises, in common habitats such as flower bowls, flower vases, fountain, pails, and dish drying trays, some with very high larvae count of up to 200 larvae. Another 35 were found in common areas or other premises such as ground puddles, gully traps and scupper drains.

There were no construction-related mosquito breeding found in the area. NEA also conducted spraying of insecticides in the common corridors, and in residents' homes.

“We urge everyone to help eliminate potential mosquito breeding habitats, and reduce chances of dengue transmission,” said Mr Masagos.


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