Mosquitoes breeding in water tanks of 2 Woodlands blocks

SINGAPORE - Mosquitoes have been found breeding in water tanks at the top of two 11-storey Housing Board blocks in a dengue fever cluster in Woodlands.

For having larvae in the water tanks of Block 896C and Block 899A, Woodlands Drive 50, the Sembawang-Nee Soon Town Council will be fined by the National Environment Agency (NEA). First time offenders can be fined $200 and repeat offenders, up to $2000.

Two or three larvae each were found in seven of the 12 tanks during a routine inspection of the rooftops, done once a month by the town council.

The council said it washed and flushed the water tanks immediately when the larvae were found.

Dengue fever is on the rise, and as of Monday, 57 cases had been recorded in the cluster from Woodlands Drive 50, Woodlands Avenue 4 and Woodlands Ring Road, making it the second-biggest cluster after the one in Telok Kurau.

It is unusual, but not impossible for mosquitoes to be found breeding at such heights, said pest-control experts yesterday.

"Wind currents that hit the sides of HDB flats may blow them to the rooftop," said Mr Eugene Surendra, 60, the technical director of PestBusters.

The clean water in the tanks would be ideal breeding grounds for dengue-carrying Aedes mosquitoes, and all they would need would be a crack to get in, he added.

The authorities from the town council found small gaps between the covers and the water tanks that the larvae were breeding in. The gaps have been sealed, said a spokesman for the town council.

Residents of the two blocks were surprised at the discovery.

"I would expect areas such as playgrounds to be breeding spots, but not water tanks," said accountant Lim Kian Wah, 37, who suffered from dengue fever two weeks ago.

Another resident said there were other potential breeding spots that should be checked.

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