Q: What is dengue?
A: Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection endemic to Singapore and the tropics worldwide. It is an unpleasant but self limiting viral fever with other features like headache, vomiting, joint & muscle aches and rash. A small proportion of cases can develop into severe dengue which may present with life threatening bleeding.
Q: How can I avoid it?
A: The key is to prevent Aedes mosquito breeding and avoid getting bites. Doing the 5 step mozzie wipeout can help. A new development is the arrival of the first dengue vaccine approved by HSA in Singapore - Dengvaxia.
Q: What is Dengvaxia?
A: It is the first vaccine licensed against dengue in Singapore, indicated for ages 12 to 45 years. Three injections are required at 6 month intervals.
Read also this article in the Straits Times!
Q: How effective is dengue vaccine?
A: As with all vaccines, it cannot prevent 100% of infections. It has varying effectivity against different strains of dengue. Overall it reduces symptomatic infections by 69.2%, the need for hospitalisation by 81.3% and severe dengue by 95.5%.
Q: Should I get the vaccine?
A: It is a live vaccine so it may not be suitable for everybody. Consultation with your doctor is advised to discuss the risks and benefits for each particular case. The current evidence shows that although you can still get infected after vaccination, the risk of severe dengue or death is reduced.
Q: I’ve had dengue before - should I vaccinate?
A: There are 4 main strains of dengue circulating in South-East Asia so it may be possible to get re-infected more than once. The risk of severe dengue infection is greater in subsequent infections.
Vaccination with Dengvaxia is more effective in patients who have had prior dengue infections and can reduce the risk of severe dengue.
Q: Where can I get this vaccine?
A: Come on down to Katong Family Clinic and speak to our Doctors (Dr Sarah Packer & Dr Jack Lee) for more information to protect you, yourself and your family!
Dr Sarah Packer is a Family Physician with a special interest in women's and children's health.