The number of dengue victims in Singapore last week hit a record 432 for the year - well into epidemic levels - and the infection shows no signs of letting up.

With this new peak, the number of cases of the viral infection now stands at 4,029 for the year.

This is the third time this year that the disease, spread through the bite of the Aedes mosquito, has hit epidemic levels.

And it has all happened in the last four weeks. In the week of June 10, there were 401 cases. A fortnight later, the figure hit 381.

A situation with more than 378 cases a week is considered an epidemic. So far, three people have died from the disease this year.

As of now, the situation has not hit levels like those back in 2005. At its height then, Singapore's worst dengue epidemic saw 713 people falling sick in a single week in September. That year, a total of 14,209 people came down with the illness, which killed 25.

There are now 96 areas where the disease, which causes high fevers and severe body aches, is actively transmitted. Ten of these areas - with Pasir Ris in the eastern part of Singapore the most affected - have more than 10 people infected.

Explaining the spike in the numbers, the National Environment Agency (NEA) yesterday said that the recent rain, coupled with warm weather, provided the mosquitoes with 'ample opportunities to breed'.

The situation is only expected to let up next month or in September, when the weather turns cooler. The virus-bearing female mosquito takes longer to mature in cooler weather and will not breed as fast.

Until then, the NEA is also working closely with doctors to detect the disease at a faster rate. This is so that NEA officers can act quickly to destroy mosquito breeding grounds.

The Health Ministry is also urging suspected and confirmed dengue patients to protect themselves and their family members by using mosquito repellent, coils and netting for their beds.

The authorities are also making sure Singaporeans are getting the message about dengue prevention.

In the first five months of this year, 1,156 homes - the biggest mosquito-breeding culprits - were fined.

First-time offenders are fined $100, while repeat offenders have to cough up $200.