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What you need to know about the dengue fever outbreak in Singapore

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6th February, 2023

Singapore is experiencing rising numbers of dengue fever, but what does it mean for Australians travelling to the region and could the outbreak spread here?

Sin­ga­pore is on alert as dengue fever num­bers start to rise again, after case num­bers spiked in 2022 and 2020.
The num­ber of dengue cas­es in Sin­ga­pore dur­ing 2022 reached the sec­ond high­est on record.
The Nation­al Envi­ron­ment Agency has warned that there could be anoth­er out­break this year, as the num­ber of cas­es remains high.
In the week end­ing 28 Jan­u­ary 2023, Singapore’s Nation­al Envi­ron­ment Agency report­ed 186 dengue cas­es and there were 274 the pre­vi­ous week.
So what are the impli­ca­tions for Australia?

A man in back t-shirt sits in an office with books and medical specimens on shelves.
Mos­qui­to expert, Cameron Webb

NSW Health Pathol­o­gy med­ical ento­mol­o­gist, Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor Cameron Webb said there was no risk of the out­break com­ing here as the mos­qui­toes that spread dengue virus­es, espe­cial­ly Aedes aegyp­ti and Aedes albopic­tus, are not found in NSW.
“There are lots of mos­qui­toes here that can spread virus­es of con­cern, such as Mur­ray Val­ley encephali­tis virus, but not dengue,” he said.
A/Prof Webb said the most impor­tant mes­sage is for trav­ellers to Sin­ga­pore to be aware of the need to avoid being bit­ten, par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing day­light hours.
“It is impor­tant that Aus­tralians trav­el­ling over­seas make sure they use repel­lent dur­ing the day, as that is when the mos­qui­toes that trans­mit the virus tend to bite – not dur­ing ear­ly morning/evening hours as we are used to here in Australia.”
Mean­while, in Sin­ga­pore the Nation­al Envi­ron­ment Agency says it is car­ry­ing out pre­ven­tive mea­sures to fur­ther slow dengue transmission.

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