With the active rise of dengue cases in Singapore and the total number of reported cases at an all-time high, the spotlight on the Aedes mosquito is further highlighted by the emerging Zika virus. Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, the same carrier of the dengue virus.
Channel NewsAsia and the Channel 8 News report the number of dengue cases that are seen in a week- a total of 636 cases. This brings the total number of cases in January 2016 to 2,441. This is one of the highest number of cases ever seen in Singapore. The National Environment Agency (NEA) has since taken measures to try and stop the spread of the disease. At the time of the report, some areas have been identified to be active clusters and they are Tampines, Pasir Ris and Little India.
Leaders in the affected residential areas are going around on house visits for inspection of mosquito breeding sites in homes and to bring attention to residents on the potential breeding sites they may have missed out such as the area behind the toilet bowl.
Efforts to check for Aedes mosquito breeding sites such as the roofs and drains are stepped up to schedule for more frequent checks by the pest control company.
Rentokil pest control contributes in the report that January this year has a 60% increase in the number of enquiries mostly relating to dengue prevention as compared to the same period in January last year.
"The reason for this is due to the recent outbreak of Zika-related diseases in Latin America,” says Dr Chan Hiang Hao, Medical Entomologist of Rentokil Initial. “Although there are no Zika-related diseases in Singapore, Aedes (mosquitoes) in Singapore do transmit dengue, which may be deadly."
The article also mentions that the spike in dengue cases is due to the weather change which results in a warmer weather leading to an increase in the mosquito population. The National Environment Agency (NEA) has called on the public to stop the spread of dengue virus by doing your part at home to eliminate all breeding sites and potential breeding areas of stagnant water found inplaces such as containers and flower pot trays.
The public must be aware that to have the best mosquito repellent and to achieve the best mosquito protection is first by eliminating the breeding of the Aedes mosquito.
The topic of dengue and the Zika virus are in the spotlight recently. Rentokil Singapore receives an interview with Thomson Reuters to speak on methods that are used to control the mosquito population particularly the Aedes mosquito, which is the main carrier of both the dengue and Zika viruses. In this interview, mosquito fogging is further introduced.
The video interview also mentions of how Singapore is diligently as a country at tackling mosquitoes, whereby educational campaigns and the recent extensive news coverage can help to spread out useful information to inform Singapore residents to do their part at home to eliminate breeding sites of mosquitoes. Talking points on reasons for the rise in the number of dengue cases in Singapore and the potential rise of the Zika virus are also touched on.
Extracts of the video featuring Dr Chan Hiang Hao, Medical Entomologist of Rentokil Initial’s interview with Patrick Fok, Senior Editor of Thomson Reutersas follows
Dr Chan explains that the chemical used is water-based fogging which is more environmental friendly as compared to the oil based fogging. The fog is less thick and kills flying insect, discharges chemical outside the air. Fogging is conducted where there is a major infestation.
BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) treatment is an alternative method to treat mosquitoes. This is non toxic to humans and animals, which is use to treat for mosquito control in reservoirs and fish ponds. Monitoring tools are being used to identify the mosquito activities.
There is a 60% increase in January year on year for mosquito enquiries for advices and available treatments methods. Singaporeans has a high level of awareness to tackle mosquito problems. The local government encourages community involvement to adhere to housekeeping tips such as removing stagnant water from flower pots.
Several factors lead to high dengue cases recently is due to a change in climate and rise of high temperatures and the virus has shorter incubation period. The Zika virus can be spread due to human movement which acts as a disease carrier due to transportation and travelling.