Monday, May 21, 2007

AP (21 May 2007) - Singapore records sharp rise in dengue cases, possibly from spread of new strain

May 21, 1:05 AM EDT
Report: Singapore records sharp rise in dengue cases, possibly from spread of new strain

SINGAPORE (AP) -- Singapore recorded a nearly 50 percent increase in dengue infections in the first 4 1/2 months of this year compared to the same period in 2006, news reports said Monday.
Dengue cases reported from the start of January to May 12 rose to 1,488 - up from 993 in the corresponding period last year, The Straits Times newspaper reported.
Singapore had 180 new cases of dengue reported last week, an all-time high, according to local TV news station Channel NewsAsia.
Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the sharp rise could be caused by a different strain of the virus spreading in the tropical city-state of 4.5 million, the paper reported.
One man is believed to have died this year from dengue fever, the paper said, without giving details.
The Health Ministry had no immediate comment on the reports.
Health officials have been combing public housing estates in search of mosquito breeding sites. Dengue-carrying insects can breed in tiny pools of water found in flower pots, discarded bottles or cans, or old tires.
Like several other Southeast Asian countries, Singapore reported a higher-than-usual number of dengue infections in 2005.
The disease, which causes joint pain, high fever, nausea and a rash, is endemic to the region. In severe cases, it leads to internal bleeding and sometimes death.
At least 19 out of Singapore's 4.2 million people died last year from the disease.
© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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