SMS alerts on new dengue clusters

A screenshot of the X-Dengue website.

SINGAPORE: The public can now get text message alerts on new areas of dengue transmission.

This can be done via a website —

www.x—dengue.com

— which is a collaboration between the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Smart Communities Pte Ltd.

Previously, the public had to check the official NEA website regularly to receive these updates.

It is part of a new initiative by NEA to equip the public with timely information so that they can take immediate steps to keep themselves dengue free.

Registered users on the website will receive text message alerts on new dengue clusters in areas of concern to them, such as their homes, schools and other places they frequent. They will also receive alerts on the severity of a dengue cluster and its closure.

The information, which is refreshed daily, will reflect a dengue cluster that is within 150 metres of a specific location.

Alerts will also be sent if the dengue cluster grows beyond 10 cases — for every five new cases. In addition, text messages will provide a link to

www.dengue.gov.sg

for more tips on dengue prevention.

NEA said the information can help forewarn them to take preventive measures against dengue, such as applying insect repellent.

Under one user’s account, up to eight places and five other users’ telephone numbers can be registered.

Derek Ho Yeong Thye, director of the Environmental Health Department with the National Environment Agency, said: "Through this X—Dengue initiative, a person who opens this account can sign up not only for themselves but also their members of the family who may not be so tech—savvy.

"So they can register their telephone numbers through this common account to receive notifications as and when there is a dengue cluster at these notified places."

Doctors also stand to benefit. That is because through this system, doctors will know if their patients are residing in dengue hotspots and can then dispense advise on dengue prevention.

Christoph Theisinger, founder of Smart Communities, said: "We believe that the information provided in X—Dengue should be very easy for the doctor or the reception desk to check whether the patient with dengue symptoms is living in or near a dengue cluster. I’m not saying it replaces the diagnosis of the doctor, but it’s just one more information that which might lead to a dengue diagnosis."

Subscription is free during this six—month trial period, from October 1, 2011 to March 2012.

— CNA/ac