SINGAPORE: Researchers from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are studying dengue fever trends in their latest bid to fight the disease.
The trends will help researchers track the viruses and understand how they spread in the region.
This was announced on Tuesday at the launch of a portal called UNITEDengue, which stands for United in Tackling Epidemic Dengue.
The portal allows the three countries to share surveillance information about the disease.
Other types of information to be shared on the portal include weekly updates of dengue cases, as well as prevention strategies.
The initiative was launched at the opening ceremony of the Third Asia—Pacific Dengue Workshop in Singapore.
One of the aims of the initiative is to get timely updates of the dengue situation in the region.
Latest data shows Malaysia is seeing a downward trend of dengue fever, after a peak early in the year.
Singapore is in the high—risk season, between July and September.
Some 115 cases had been reported, in the week beginning August 12. In the same period last year, there were 131 cases.
Director of the Environmental Health Institute Associate Professor Ng Lee Ching says controlling dengue is a cross—border challenge.
With this portal, Dr Ng says authorities can then alert each other if there are outbreaks in one region.
Dr Ng says when looking at data from Malaysia, it would be more accurate to analyse the data from each state rather than the national figure. That way, researchers are likely to find more correlation between the Malaysian states and Singapore.
Singapore shows the highest correlation with the Malaysian states of Johor and Penang.
For example, if there is a spike of dengue cases in Johor, this would also be seen in Singapore.
While researchers are not surprised by the correlation with Johor, they were surprised by the link with Penang given its geographic distance from Singapore.
The three countries are hoping to rope in more countries, to share their information on fighting dengue.
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