Dengue fever on the rise in Singapore this year, with over 5,500 people infected (and five deaths) since the start of the year. According to a Straits Times report, this is the highest number of cases in three years with 119 active dengue clusters across the island, and we’re only halfway through the year.
Experts say the surge is due to a change in the dominant dengue strain, which poses a bigger risk for those who have been infected before. Essentially, there are four strains of dengue virus, with two taking turns being dominant. “Infection of one strain gives immunity to that particular strain but not to the other three,” says The Straits Times.
A stronger virus and lower immunity levels can increase the risk of severe dengue, which can damage the liver, heart and lungs, which might lead to death. What’s also worrying is the fact that the outbreak isn’t localised to one particular area in Singapore, but a general uptick in dengue cases islandwide. This means that it’s important to be vigilant now more than ever, especially if you live with higher-risk individuals like young children and elderly folk who have lower immunity levels.
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But before you panic, here are eight key ways to keep yourself and your loved ones protected from the dengue epidemic: