An 11-year-old boy has become the latest victim of dengue here.
The boy, who lived at Woodleigh Close, was admitted to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) on Aug 30 and died the same day.
The Health Ministry said it was told of the cause of death yesterday, after the coroner completed his report.
His residence at Woodleigh Close was found to be an active two-case dengue cluster in early September. No breeding was detected there. The cluster has since closed on Sept 14.
The boy’s death bring the number of people who have died from dengue this year to eight, four more than in the whole of last year.
His death is a rare case, said experts. Children, especially if they have healthy immune systems, usually survive the disease.
Still, they advised parents to take their children to the doctor early if they exhibit dengue symptoms, which include fever, joint and muscle pains, nausea and rashes.
Infectious diseases expert Leong Hoe Nam, from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, said dengue deaths in children are less common here because of how easy it is to get to a hospital. “Children lose liquids very fast because of their smaller size and weaker constitution,” he said. “In Singapore, this (problem) is negated because of easy access to hospitals.”
In comparison, the elderly are more likely to have chronic medical conditions that make it harder to fight off the disease. “All people get lower immunity as they get older,” said dengue expert Tikki Pang, a visiting professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
“Although uncommon, there have been previous cases of children aged 12 and below passing away due to dengue,” said an MOH spokesman without giving details.
Professor Pang said the public should not be overly worried.
“Out of a hundred people who get dengue, only one or two will get severe dengue,” he said. Less than 1 per cent of this group die.
NEA urges the public to remain vigilant and work together to suppress the Aedes mosquito population.
The mosquito is responsible for transmitting both the dengue and Zika viruses, as well as yellow fever and chikungunya.
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times