Dengue Fever

Keystone Clinic & Surgery has innovated and improved our services to ensure that we are ready to deal with the ever-present threat of dengue fever. We have collaborated with our medical partners to be able to provide in house dengue fever diagnosis so that immediate care can be administered to our patients

What is Dengue Fever?

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.

What are the symptoms of Dengue Fever?

Symptoms of dengue fever usually manifest after an incubation period of 3 to 14 days.

Symptoms include:

  • Sudden and persistent onset of fever for 2 to 7 days
  • Severe headache with pain behind the eyes
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Skin rashes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mild bleeding from the nose or gums
  • Easy bruising of the skin

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:

  • Bleeding from the nose or gums or blood
  • Blood in vomit or in the stools
  • Black stool
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy

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.

Dengue Fever Treatment

There is currently no specific treatment for dengue fever. Any treatment or hospitalisation is purely supportive such as conducting blood transfusions or fluid and electrolyte replacement.

How do I protect myself against Dengue?

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.


‘B-L-O-C-K’ steps

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

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the Dengue Fever

You can catch dengue fever again because there are 4 different strains. Repeat dengue infections have been associated with a higher occurrence of severe dengue fever.
The Dengue Duo POCT costs $50 per test.

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.