Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus which is transmitted via the bite of an infective Aedes mosquito which has a distinctive black and white striped body. A mosquito is infected after it takes in the blood of a dengue-infected person. After approximately one week, the mosquito can then transmit the dengue virus to other people they bite. However, dengue fever does not spread from human to human.
There are four different strains of dengue virus (DENV1 to 4) circulating in the world. Hence, individuals can be infected with dengue up to four times. Dengue clusters are common in Singapore and there are 3 alert levels – Red, Yellow and Green. The National Environment Agency (NEA) monitors the dengue clusters in Singapore and regularly updates on the current dengue situation.
Symptoms of dengue fever usually manifest after an incubation period of 3 to 14 days.
While rare, dengue fever can progress to severe dengue fever which can result in death. Severe dengue fever is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.
Symptoms of severe dengue fever include:
Currently, there are two ways to confirm the presence of the dengue virus.
Firstly, you can get a blood test sent to the laboratory to check for the presence of NS1 Antigen or the IgG/IgM antibodies. This takes a turnaround time of at least a day due to the administrative processes involved.
Alternatively, you can choose to do a Dengue Duo test which is a point-of-care test (POCT) that can immediately be done at our clinics. This rapid test only requires a small amount of blood to be drawn and results will be known within a few minutes.
The most immediate method is to prevent any mosquito bites to ensure that the dengue virus cannot be transmitted to you. You can prevent mosquito bites by wearing long, covered clothing, sleeping under mosquito nets or equipping your windows with wire-mesh screens. You can also apply mosquito repellent to ward off mosquitoes. Take note that mosquito repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picaridin or IR3535 as the active ingredient are more effective than mosquito repellents that use plant-based extracts or oils. You are recommended to use mosquito repellent regularly if you are living in or visiting either dengue clusters.
Another way to protect yourself against dengue fever is to ensure that the Aedes mosquito does not breed in your area. To do so, you need to maintain vigilance by clearing stagnant waters in your home as the Aedes mosquito prefers to breed in clean, stagnant water.
NEA recommends the Mozzie Wipeout “B-L-O-C-K” to curb the spread of the dengue fever transmissions.
Break up hardened soil
Lift and empty flower pot plates
Overturn pails and wipe their rims
Change water in vases
Keep roof gutters clear and place BTI insecticide inside
We strongly advise you to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that you have dengue fever or if you are experiencing similar symptoms and are living in a dengue cluster. This is because the doctors can monitor and advise you accordingly in case your condition worsens.
It is still possible to contract the dengue virus even if you are not living in a dengue cluster. Singapore is a hot and humid urban country which favours the Aedes mosquito survival and increases transmission rates
We strongly advise you to seek medical attention if you suspect that you may be suffering from dengue fever. This is because there are certain medications that should not be taken by dengue-infected individuals
A person infected and suffering from dengue fever can infect other mosquitoes. Hence, it is possible to carry the infection from one country to another during the stage when the virus circulates and reproduces in the blood system.
Common indoor habitats include ant traps, flower vases, plastic containers and water storage tanks. Common outdoor habitats include construction sites, boats, discarded bottles, drums for collecting rainwater and potholes.
We advise you to go to a clinic for an initial consultation to determine if you have mild dengue or severe dengue. This is because hospitals should be reserved for emergency situations only.