Heat and strain change see rise in dengue cases

THE hot weather and a cyclical change in the dominant strain of dengue here may explain why doctors are seeing a doubling in the number of cases this year. 

With 50 to 100 cases being reported a week, figures for the first half of this year were twice as high as the same period last year. 

Said the National Environment Agency: “During an El Nino period like the one we are in now, the warmer temperatures favour the growth of the virus in mosquitoes. This efficient growth translates into increased transmission of dengue as is evident in the increase in cases, not only in Singapore but in many parts of the world.” 

Another possible reason for the recent rise could be a change in the dominant strain of the dengue virus, suggested tropical medicine and infectious diseases expert Oon Chong Teik, 60. 

He explained that four different strains of dengue virus existed, one of which would become dominant at a point in time and infect a majority of people. Patients infected by a particular strain develop immunity to it after they recover, but were still vulnerable to the other strains. –The Straits Times/Asia News Network  

  • Another perspective from The Straits Times, a partner of Asia News Network. 

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