SINGAPORE: The only long term resolution against dengue is a vaccine but until that is ready to be rolled out to the public, the strategy is to keep buying time by eradicating mosquito breeding at its source, Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told the House on Monday.
Dr Balakrishnan was replying to a question from Non—Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong on what the ministry is doing to counter the threat from the recent spike in dengue cases, especially in the biggest hotspot areas in East Coast Road and Telok Kurau.
Statistics from the Health Ministry show the number of dengue cases has been increasing every week of this year, peaking at 322 in the first week of February.
During the same period last year, there were only 87 cases.
Dr Balakrishnan said 70 per cent of breeding sites were in residential homes, and the National Environment Agency (NEA) has worked closely with grassroots leaders to remind residents to clear stagnant water
He said breeding sites are also often found in construction sites, and the ministry has alerted the relevant authorities to step up inspection in such places.
Dr Balakrishnan said it takes individual and collective responsibility to eliminate mosquito breeding.
He urged those who may have been infected by dengue to take personal responsibility.
Dr Balakrishnan said: "Remember the mosquitoes actually don’t fly very far — on average, 150 to 200 metres. What this means is if you have got a dengue infection, you almost certainly caught it from another family member or neighbour living close by. The mosquito is simply a go—between. In fact, although we focus on mosquitoes, actually the primary host for dengue is us human beings. If you were a mosquito, your perspective would be the problem is the human beings because it is the human beings that are the reservoirs for the virus.
"But we are not. We will take a human—centric point of view so I just want to emphasise, take all sensible measures to protect yourselves, your family and your neighbours. Eliminate all breeding areas and if you have any doubts about your own potential to be infected, please do the responsible thing, get yourself diagnosed and take appropriate measures to isolate yourself from your friends and family and neighbours with mosquito nets and repellents.
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