BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei has recorded one death from dengue while neighbouring countries Malaysia and Singapore are experiencing one of their worst outbreaks in years.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the health ministry said the sultanate recorded 43 dengue cases from January to July 25, a decrease from 69 infections in the same period last year.

The ministry said the dengue situation is under control in Brunei but advised the public to be vigilant and maintain a clean environment in ensuring effective prevention and control of the disease.

Singapore has reported a surge in dengue cases with more than 20,000 infections while Malaysia recorded 88 dengue-related deaths from January to June 13.

Dengue fever is transmitted by an Aedes mosquito infected with the dengue virus. Symptoms — including sudden and persistent fever, muscle aches and fatigue — typically begin three to 14 days after the mosquito bite and last for two to seven days.

There is no specific medicine to treat dengue, with supportive treatment used to relieve symptoms of the infection as well as close monitoring in the hospital if the need arises.

Aedes mosquitoes can be found in most places in Brunei, breeding in stagnant water in uncovered vessels such as flower pots, clogged drains, plastic bottles and discarded tyres used in gardening.

The ministry said insect monitoring and control is conducted on a regular basis, especially in areas that have been identified as breeding grounds and case clusters. 

“It should be noted that pesticide spraying is only a temporary alternative. For more effective long-term control, maintaining a clean environment and ensuring that there is no conducive environment for mosquito breeding is more important,” the ministry said.

Members of the public are advised to maintain cleanliness inside and outside their houses and get rid of mosquito breeding sites.

Mosquito eggs can survive in a dry place for six months and hatch in seven days as soon as the eggs are exposed to water.

The public are urged to seek immediate treatment at nearby health clinics if they experience any symptoms, which may become more severe and cause death.