NEA to extend enforcement regime to all residences found breeding mosquitoes
JOINT NEWS RELEASE BETWEEN PA AND NEA
Singapore, 28 February 2016 – The National Environment Agency (NEA) launched the annual ‘Do the Mozzie Wipeout’ Campaign 2016 islandwide today. Speaking at the main launch event at the North East district hosted by grassroots adviser Ms Cheng Li Hui, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, rallied the community to make a concerted effort over a 14-day period starting today, to actively check for and get rid of stagnant water now by practising the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout to clear their homes and premises of mosquito breeding. He also announced that with effect from 14 March 2016, NEA will extend its enforcement regime to all residences found breeding mosquitoes to ensure that all homeowners take immediate steps to remove and prevent mosquito breeding.
High number of dengue cases expected in 2016
2 The number of dengue cases in 2016 may exceed 30,000 – higher than the record in 2013 when 22,170 cases were reported, unless immediate action is taken. The El Niño weather phenomenon is the likely driver of the unusual high incidence of dengue cases at the start of 2016, outside of the typical dengue season. The warmer conditions due to the 2015 El Niño phenomenon support faster breeding and maturation cycles of the Aedes mosquitoes, and accelerates multiplication of dengue virus in mosquitoes.
3 NEA’s Gravitrap data has shown an increase in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population in our community since November 2015. Compared to the same period in January 2015, we have observed 50 per cent more Aedes aegyptimosquitoes caught in Gravitraps that have been deployed islandwide. The number of Aedes aegypti breeding found during the regular inspections was also 50 per cent more compared to the same period in January 2015. These indicate an abundance of the mosquito vector in our community.
4 Additionally, the proportion of dengue cases due to the DENV-2 serotype has increased. DENV-2 has replaced DENV-1 as the dominant virus and now accounts for about two-thirds of all dengue cases serotyped in Singapore. Historically, any change in predominant dengue serotype is usually followed by a spike in dengue cases. This change in the main circulating dengue virus and the increase in mosquito population due to warmer weather may be contributing to the spike in dengue cases. Against a backdrop of low herd immunity amongst Singapore residents against dengue, the above development signals a serious threat.
5 With the threat of Zika virus present, it is even more critical to reduce the mosquito population. As the virus is transmitted through mosquitoes, vector control remains the mainstay to prevent transmission of the Zika virus.
Government efforts to stem dengue transmission
6 NEA, together with the various agencies and other stakeholders represented on the Inter-Agency Dengue Task Force (IADTF), including Town Councils, have been checking and ridding our public areas and housing estates of potential mosquito breeding habitats. As at 31 January 2016, NEA has conducted over 126,000 inspections islandwide and uncovered more than 1,900 instances of mosquito breeding.
7 NEA has also been focusing on areas with higher potential for dengue transmission such as construction sites. As at 31 January 2016, NEA detected mosquito breeding in 12 per cent of the over 600 inspections conducted at construction sites. NEA has already been taking tougher action against construction sites since last year, with more than 10 construction site related Notices to Attend Court and more than 10 Stop Work Orders in January 2016.
8 As the majority of the breedings are still being found in homes, such as in domestic containers and flower pot plates and trays, NEA will likewise be toughening its approach towards errant home owners. Currently, enforcement for mosquito breeding is taken against home owners when their place of residence is within a dengue cluster. With effect from 14 March 2016, NEA will extend its enforcement regime to all residences found breeding mosquitoes, regardless whether they are within or outside dengue clusters.
Community-led efforts key to success
9 Community-led efforts are as important as NEA’s enforcement efforts in helping to reduce the mosquito population and stem dengue transmission. Source eradication of mosquito breeding habitats and spraying of insecticides to control the adult mosquito population remains the key to dengue prevention.
10 The ‘Do the Mozzie Wipeout’ Campaign 2016 has been launched earlier this year, given the current dengue situation. This year’s campaign issues a unifying call to the whole nation, to put in a concerted effort starting from today over a 14-day period, equivalent to two breeding cycles of the mosquito, to actively check for and get rid of stagnant water now by practising the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout to clear their homes and premises of mosquito breeding. The concerted effort by everyone to eliminate mosquito breeding will be a powerful collective contribution towards suppressing the mosquito population.
11 This campaign will be supported by the local grassroots advisers and the community, with the mobilisation of grassroots leaders and Dengue Prevention Volunteers (DPVs). They will be conducting patrols and house visits today and in the months ahead to advise residents on the common mosquito breeding habitats and share dengue prevention tips. They will also check for potential breeding areas in common areas in their neighbourhoods. Additionally, more than 5,000 grassroots leaders and CERT volunteers will be trained to conduct house visits, with particular emphasis on residences in yellow and red dengue cluster areas.
12 To date, NEA has trained more than 5,800 DPVs, comprising grassroots leaders, PA Community Emergency and Response Teams (CERT) members, students, senior citizens and residents. These volunteers help to advise residents on the common mosquito breeding habitats and dengue prevention tips during house visits and community events, and check for potential breeding areas in common areas in their neighbourhoods. Refer to Annex A for roles of residents and DPVs in preventing dengue.
13 Persons infected with dengue should protect themselves from mosquito bites by applying repellent regularly, and those showing symptoms suggestive of dengue should see their doctors early to be diagnosed. Those planning to go overseas for vacation should also mosquito-proof their homes before they travel.
14 The latest updates on the dengue situation can be found at the Stop Dengue Now Facebook page, www.dengue.gov.sg or the myENV app.
 The campaign was also launched by Mr Tan Chuan Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development and grassroots adviser to Marine Parade GRC GROs, at the South East District, Ms Denise Phua, Mayor and grassroots adviser to Kampong Glam GROs, at the Central Singapore District, Ms Low Yen Ling, Mayor and grassroots adviser to Bukit Gombak GROs, at the South West District and Er Dr Lee Bee Wah, grassroots adviser to Nee Soon South GROs at the North West District.
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For more information, please contact us at 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632) or submit your enquiries electronically via the Online Feedback Form or myENV mobile application.
ROLES OF RESIDENTS AND DENGUE PREVENTION VOLUNTEERS IN PREVENTING DENGUE
- Practise the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout on alternate days.
- Apply repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Spray insecticide in dark corners such as under the bed, sofa and curtains at home.
- Cover up toilet bowls, sinks and gully traps and ensure there is no stagnant water at home before leaving for vacation.
- Seek medical treatment early if feeling unwell.
- Participate in dengue prevention campaigns in the neighbourhood
Dengue Prevention Volunteers
Dengue Prevention Volunteers complement NEA’s outreach efforts, in helping to disseminate the knowledge of dengue prevention among residents and the community, so that they can carry out these efforts on a sustained basis.
- Dengue Prevention Volunteers help to:
- Heighten awareness among residents on the current dengue situation.
- Advise residents on the potential breeding habitats during house visits and community events, and remind residents to remove stagnant water in their homes.
- Encourage residents to incorporate dengue prevention steps in their daily routines.
- Educate residents on the importance of ULV misting to eradicate adult mosquitoes and encourage them to allow NEA officers to conduct misting, and spray insecticides in dark corners of their homes on their own.
- Share information about mosquitoes including characteristics of Aedes mosquitoes, symptoms of dengue fever, how dengue is transmitted and how residents can look after themselves to stem dengue transmission:
- Advise residents to apply insect repellent to protect themselves for those living in the cluster area.
- Encourage residents showing symptoms suggestive of dengue to see their GPs early to be diagnosed.
- Educate residents infected with dengue to protect themselves from mosquito bites by applying repellent and wearing long-sleeved tops and long pants to stem further dengue transmission.
- Check for potential breeding areas in common areas in their neighbourhood.
- Encourage fellow residents to participate in dengue prevention activities in their neighbourhood.
NEA welcomes more volunteers from the community to join us. Interested members of the public can do so by signing up through the ‘Stop Dengue Now’ Facebook page.