If sticking a stick up the nose can be norm, surely we can do more to fight dengue May 19, 2022 The recent spike in dengue cases is worrying. Till date, Singapore has more than 8,000 cases – way more than the 5,258 cases reported last year. As of May 18, 2022, there are 8,837 dengue cases. And the kicker? We are only in May and yet to hit the traditional peak dengue season between June and October. WARNING: disturbing imagery below. Horrific figures 1,323 dengue cases were reported in the week ending May 14, 470 more than the previous week. According to the National Environment Agency, as of May 17, there are 300 active dengue clusters, with 68 dengue clusters with red alert, which signifies a cluster with 10 or more cases. Disturbing imagery part 2… and part 3 Covid-19 pandemic not over yet To top it off, we are still in the midst of the pandemic and while things are looking up with the relaxed measures, we are not seeing the end of the pandemic – at least not yet. Even though hospitals have pivoted to focusing on non-covid “business as usual” patients and can take a breather, all it takes is the emergence of a deadlier variant (touch wood) to throw another spanner. With that happens, a dengue outbreak will surely add further strain to the healthcare system. Time for a change If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that Singaporeans, for all our idiosyncrasies, are adaptable and highly resilient. Mask wearing has become the norm even though it is not needed now at outdoors; scanning a QR code before entering a mall; sticking a stick up the nose; or not having a meal with extended family. Of course, there’s the deep reservoir of trust not just between the people and the Government but also between neighbours and even strangers – trusting that one would exercise social and personal responsibility like staying home if unwell and self-isolate if Covid positive. So, what is stopping us to do the same to fight dengue? If sticking a stick up our noses can be a norm, surely we can do the BLOCK. Break up hardened soilLift and empty flowerpot platesOverturn pails and wipe their rimsChange water in vasesKeep roof gutters clear and place BTI insecticide inside Yes, our NEA officers are working round the clock to conduct operations and inspections. But no, it is not enough. According to Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan, from Jan to Apr this year, NEA conducted about 243,000 inspections islandwide and found that about 60 per cent of mosquito breeding in dengue clusters occurred in homes. That’s right, everyone must play their part. It’s also more effective this way. Other than doing the BLOCK, he added that if one lives in a dengue cluster area, spray insecticide in dark corners of the home, apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved tops and long pants to avoid getting bitten. Let’s do more to fight dengue, just like how we have been battling Covid-19, and make it the least of our worries. Bigger battles ahead, my friend.