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Dengue Cases in Singapore Crosses Alarming Levels

The number of dengue cases in affluent Singapore has surpassed an epidemic threshold for the first time since 2005, the government said .

The National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Health Ministry said in a statement issued late Tuesday that the weekly number of dengue cases reported last week totalled 401, up 37 percent from 293 cases the preceding week. This number breached the "epidemic threshold" of 378 cases per week for the first time since 2005, an NEA spokeswoman said.

Two people have died from the mosquito-borne disease this year. For the first six months of the year, the number of infections totaled 2,868 cases, more than double 1,392 cases during the same period in 2006, the statement said.

Efforts have been stepped up to eradicate breeding grounds of the dengue-causing Aedes mosquito in the island-state, which has a reputation for being one of the world's cleanest cities.

"The recent spells of intermittent rain coupled with warm weather has provided the mosquito ample opportunities to breed in minute pools of stagnant water all over the island," the statement said.

The NEA and members of an inter-agency taskforce have intensified daily inspections of possible breeding grounds in homes and outdoor areas such as drains, construction sites, parks and vacant land.

Singapore experienced its worst dengue fever outbreak in 2005 when 19 people died from the disease and more than 13,000 were infected. Dengue is normally associated with poorer tropical countries. The disease is manifested by a sudden onset of fever with severe headaches, muscle and joint pains, and rashes.


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