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Singapore Facing Record Dengue Outbreak

“An unusually severe dengue epidemic in Singapore has claimed its fifth fatality this year, even as health officials try to beat back the city-state’s worst-ever outbreak of the tropical disease,” the Wall Street Journal’s “Southeast Asia Real Time” blog reports. “The death of a 52-year-old man Tuesday came despite signs that government efforts to contain the mosquito-borne dengue virus — which has spread at an unusually rapid pace this year — were having an effect in reducing the pace of new infections in recent weeks,” the blog writes, adding, “As of Tuesday afternoon, officials had logged 14,363 cases of dengue fever this year, according to the National Environment Agency.” The blog notes, “The scale of the current epidemic has surpassed that of Singapore’s worst dengue outbreak in 2005, when authorities logged 14,006 confirmed cases and 27 deaths,” and continues, “According to Singaporean health officials, factors behind this year’s outbreak include lower immunity to dengue among the population, thanks to intensive dengue-carrier controls.” The blog adds, “Other factors for the outbreak include a higher mosquito population and ‘fitter’ viruses with higher epidemic potential” (Wong, 8/14).