Spatial Analysis of Dengue Fever Risk in Singapore

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Background

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection. The infection causes flu-like illness, and is potentially lethal. The global incidences of Dengue have grown dramatically in recent decades. Dengue is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas. Dengue is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian and Latin American countries. There is no specific treatment for Dengue, but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates significantly.11”Dengue and Severe Dengue.” WHO. The World Health Organization, n.d. Web.

Dengue is spread through the bite of the female mosquito, Aedes aegypti. The mosquito becomes infected when it takes the blood of a person infected with the virus. After about one week, the mosquito can then transmit the virus while biting a healthy person. The mosquito can fly up to 400 meters and usually remains close to the human habitation. Dengue cannot be spread directly from person to person. However, a person infected and suffering from Dengue Fever can infect other mosquitoes. Humans are known to carry the infection from one country to another or from one area to another during the stage when the virus circulates and reproduces in the blood system. Aedes aegypti has evolved into an intermittent biter and prefers to bite more than one person during the feeding period. This mechanism has made Aedes aegypti a very highly efficient epidemic vector mosquito.22”Dengue/Severe Dengue Frequently Asked Questions.” WHO. The W, n.d. Web.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes breed primarily in artificial water containers, and the mosquito’s life-cycle is closely associated with human activities. Larval habitats are increasing rapidly in urban areas. The epidemiology and ecology of Dengue are complicated by the fact that there are four virus serotypes. Unlike most other diseases, sequential infection with different serotypes increases – rather than reduces – the risk of severe illness. Most cases of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever occur in children under the age of 15. Social and environmental factors, including increased urbanization are linked to the resurgence of Dengue. New scientific insights into Dengue vector ecology and disease transmission patterns, together with more targeted use of environmental management strategies, may offer improved potential for combating Dengue Fever. Since there is no curative treatment for Dengue, targeted environmental and ecosystem management is increasingly relevant.33”Better Environmental Management for Control of Dengue.” <i>WHO</i>. Word Health Organization, n.d. Web.