• Vol. 40 No. 12, 533–538
  • 15 December 2011

Dengue Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices among Primary Care Physicians in Singapore

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: : Dengue fever remains a significant public health concern in Singapore. Appropriate, timely diagnosis and risk stratification for severe disease are crucial in the optimal management of this illness. In the outpatient setting, the primary care physician plays a key role in dengue diagnosis, management, and triage. We present a descriptive analysis of the variations in dengue knowledge, attitudes, and practices among primary care physicians (PCPs) in Singapore.

Materials and Methods: A survey of 25 multiple-choice questions was mailed to 2000 PCPs in Singapore. Responses were analysed by physician age group (21-40, 41-60, and >61) and practice setting (government subsidised polyclinic or private practice).

Results: Of the 3 questions assessing dengue knowledge, 89.9% chose 2 or 3 of the preferred responses. Half of the respondents utilised dengue diagnostic tests at least 50% of the time, and 75% used serology when doing so. Older respondents and those from private practices used diagnostic tests more often than their counterparts, and both groups favoured non-serology tests. About 85% of surveyed PCPs monitored confirmed or suspected cases daily, and one-third referred patients to a hospital always or often.

Conclusion: While no major gaps in knowledge about dengue were identified in PCPs in Singapore, there were significant variations in clinical practice by physician age group and practice setting. The results of this survey provide a useful opportunity to identify strengths and areas in need of improved awareness in primary care management of dengue.


Dengue fever is the most common mosquito-borne viral illness worldwide and has reached hyperendemic proportions in the urban tropics and subtropics over the last 2 decades. With an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk and a global annual incidence of 50 million cases, dengue fever has been identified as an important public health issue. Asia remains disproportionately affected by this disease, with 75% of the global disease burden borne by the populations within the Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions.

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