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Singapore, Thailand Face Worsening Dengue Outbreaks

“As weekly dengue fever infections surge to a record, Singaporean health officials are stepping up efforts to beat back a tropical disease outbreak that could become the city-state’s worst ever,” the Wall Street Journal’s “Southeast Asia Real Time” blog reports. More than 9,400 people have been infected so far this year, with two deaths recorded, and an all-time high of 820 cases reported in the week ending on June 8, the blog notes. “In the next one to two months, the [National Environment Agency] will add 300 more officers to its vector-control team, which currently comprises 850 people dedicated to killing mosquitoes and clearing breeding spots,” according to the blog (Wong, 6/11). In 2005, during the worst dengue outbreak on record for Singapore, approximately 14,000 people were infected and 25 died, Xinhua reports (Yang, 6/11).

In related news, Thailand could be experiencing its worst-ever dengue outbreak, “[w]ith more than 40 deaths and almost 40,000 cases of dengue fever reported in Thailand so far this year,” IRIN reports. “‘About 25 years ago we had a dengue outbreak of around 170,000 cases,’ Pornthep Siriwanarangsun, the director of Thailand’s Department of Disease Control, told IRIN,” adding, “This year, we expect 150,000 to 200,000 cases,” according to the news service. “There is still no vaccine for dengue, a mosquito-borne disease,” the news service notes and describes efforts by health officials to curb dengue’s spread in the country (6/12).