I was walking around my neighbourhood and I noticed these huge, intimidating banners.
I turned to my lift area and saw another scary-looking poster.
It states that Wolbachia-carrying Aedes mosquitoes are now being released in the air to help combat dengue (Project Wolbachia Singapore).
What’s going on sia.
Dengue got so serious not?
I started googling and realised how jialat (read: serious or terrible) dengue fever currently is in Singapore.
Just last week, a total of 1,678 dengue cases were reported on our tiny island.
Check out that spike in the red line. 😨
As of 13 July 2020 (3pm), there have been 17,249 dengue cases recorded in Singapore in 2020.
This number surpasses the total number of cases in 2019.
The weekly numbers have also reached a historical high in Singapore.
As if that is not scary enough, there are a total of 371 dengue clusters in Singapore (at the time of writing), with 133 of them being deemed as ‘high-risk’ areas.
That’s scary as heck.
Dengue Fever Symptoms
As we all know, dengue fever is a disease caused by the dengue virus, which is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito.
There are four different serotypes of dengue virus (DENV1-4) going around the world, including Singapore.
This means that each person can get be infected with dengue up to four times.
Symptoms would include:
- Sudden onset of fever for 2-7 days
- Severe headache with pain behind the eyes
- Joint and muscle pain
- Skin rashes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mild bleeding (e.g. nose or gum bleed, or easy bruising of the Symptoms usually appear 4-7 days after being bitten (ranges from 3-14 days).
(Extracted from the Ministry of Health (MOH) website)
What’s Scary About Dengue Fever?
What makes dengue fever scary is that first-time infections could already be severe.
This is especially so for the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
If an individual gets infected more than once, there is a higher occurrence of severe dengue.
In addition, it might lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, which can be fatal.
Penalties of Mosquito Breeding
Heavier penalties have been rolled out since 15 July 2020, especially for households with repeated mosquito breeding offences and multiple breeding habitats.
Previously, offenders are being fined $200 regardless of the number of breeding habitats detected.
Currently, the penalties range from $200 to $5,000.
The enhanced penalties are as follows:
Remember to check your pails and plants, guys!
Dengue Fever Vaccination
Dengvaxia® is a dengue vaccine that was introduced in Singapore in 2016, after being approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).
It is to help with the prevention of dengue disease in individuals aged 12 – 45 years.
However, a supplemental study by pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur assessed the long-term safety and efficacy of Dengvaxia®.
It showed that there is a higher risk of getting severe dengue after getting the vaccination, for individuals who have not had previous dengue infections before.
As a result, HSA required the package insert (PI) to include the information on this postulated risk and to include the recommendation for individuals.
Nevertheless, this vaccination is still available for individuals who might be interested to get it.
Raffles Health offers it at $529.65 for 3 doses, and includes the practice cost and doctor’s consultation charge at first visit.
Dengue Fever Treatment Costs
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), there is no specific treatment for dengue fever, or its more serious forms, dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.
Treatment for dengue is supportive.
In more severe cases, you may be hospitalised for aggressive emergency treatment, including fluid and electrolyte replacement, and/or blood transfusions.
Some common treatments and procedures would include:
- Consumption of paracetamol
- Intravenous fluids for hypotension and dehydration
- Daily platelet and haematocrit measurement (when platelets drop below 100,000/mm3)
- Complete bed rest for platelet count less than 50,000/mm3
When it comes to hospitalisation, such bills are NEVER cheap in Singapore.
The average cost of a C-class ward could start from $200 onwards.
To combat this, companies have been rolling out insurance plans that provide coverage for dengue fever.
If you’re looking for one (especially if you’re staying in one of the red zones), there are a few in the market right now.
Great Eastern Free Dengue Cover
Great Eastern is offering a free assurance kit with dengue insurance, along with free video consultation.
Under this plan, individuals would get to receive a daily hospital cash benefit of up to $150 per day when hospitalised for mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, Zika and more.
The cash benefit payout is as follows:
- Admitted into Singapore Hospital (Standard Room & Board) – S$50 per 24-hour day
- Admitted into Singapore Hospital (Intensive Care Unit) – S$150 per 24-hour day
This is for up to a maximum of 10 days per hospitalisation.
It provides an insurance coverage term of 180 days from the effective date.
In addition, there is also complimentary video-consultation from Doctor Anywhere.
Promotion is till 21 August 2020 (Date inclusive).
Tokio Marine TM Protect MosBite
The TM Protect MosBite plan is a yearly renewable personal accident plan which provides coverage against mosquito-related diseases.
This includes diseases such as Dengue fever, Zika fever, Chikungunya fever, Yellow fever and malaria.
Upon diagnosis of any of such diseases, this plan offers a 100% benefit payout.
The TM Protect MosBite comes in two different packages:
Tiq ePROTECT safety
Tiq’s ePROTECT Safety plan is a plan which offers coverage for infectious diseases, along with personal accident coverage.
In view of the current situation, this plan is also offering extended complimentary coverage for both COVID-19 and dengue fever.
This extension of coverage includes a diagnosis benefit of $3,000.
In an unfortunate event where you are diagnosed with both COVID-19 and dengue fever, there will be a lump-sum payment of $6,000 ($3,000 from each).
This plan is renewal at $18 per month.
In addition, there is free personal accident insurance for up to 3 kids, which also includes the cover for COVID-19 and dengue fever.
This is available till 31 July 2020.
Personal Accident Insurance Plans
Some might think that dengue-specific insurance plans are a little too much.
Personal accident insurance plans usually come with coverage against infectious diseases caused by insect bites, such as dengue fever, along with coverage for personal accidents.
Such plans usually offer payouts via medical reimbursement benefits in an event of diagnosis.
Some of such plans include:
If you currently own a personal accident plan, it would be good to check in with your financial adviser with regards to the coverage, or you might have your queries answered on our Seedly Q&A!
How to Protect Against Dengue
“Prevention is better than cure!”
Since there is currently still no specific treatment for dengue fever, the best way to avoid it altogether.
Here are some things to take note to keep those mozzies at bay.
Prevent Clean and Stagnant Water
Mosquitoes love clean and stagnant water.
They tend to breed in them.
Here are a few common spots to take note:
- Plants (pots, hardened soil, flowerpot plate)
- Empty pails (turn them over when not in use)
- Bamboo pole holder (cap it)
- Roof gutter and drains (treat potential breeding habitats with Bti insecticide)
You can prevent mosquito bites by:
- Wearing long, covered clothing
- Sleep under mosquito nets or in air-conditioned rooms
- Apply insect repellent
While you’re away for traveling, there are a few more things you might want to take note of:
- Cover toilet bowls
- Seal floor traps
- Close all windows
- Flip the pails upside down
It’s Dengue Season: How to Not Get Your Money and Blood Sucked
While COVID-19 has taken over our lives in 2020, dengue isn’t taking a backseat either.
It is an important time to stay vigilant, and be a considerate neighbour by doing regular checks on your plants and pails.