Singapore: Singapore is telling doctors to be more vigilant against dengue fever as the mosquito-borne disease surges this year. More than 9,000 cases and two deaths since January have been reported.

The illnesses counted so far in 2013 are already twice the total for all of last year.

Singapore's Health Ministry said in a statement that it has alerted clinics where dengue cases have spiked and has advised all medical practitioners about the early diagnosis and close monitoring of patients.

Dengue fever, spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, is common in Asia and Latin America. Symptoms include high fever, joint pains and nausea, but in severe cases, it can lead to internal bleeding, liver enlargement, circulatory shutdown and death.

Authorities say they're taking other measures such as increasing insecticide fumigation and sending officers to inspect locations where mosquitoes might breed. Public awareness campaigns are also being planned, including an online reality show focusing on environmental officers on anti-dengue patrols.

Singapore imposes tough penalties on residents whose homes are found to be mosquito breeding areas. Offenders can be fined and jailed three months. Singapore's worst dengue outbreak in recent years was in 2005, when nearly 14,000 cases and 25 deaths were reported.

(Agencies)

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