41 confirmed cases of locally-transmitted Zika in Singapore: MOH

PHOTO: Reuters

SINGAPORE - There have been 41 cases of locally-transmitted Zika virus infection here, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Environment Agency (NEA).

All of the infected are residents or workers in the Aljunied Crescent and Sims Drive areas, including 36 foreign workers.

Those who tested positive for the virus include a 65-year-old retiree and his 21-year-old son, a full-time national serviceman who is doing his national service at Khatib Camp. The pair, who are residents of Block 62 Sims Drive, developed symptoms of fever and rash on Aug 23 and Aug 21 respectively and were warded at the Tan Tock Seng Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC) on Aug 27. 

A 30-year-old Singaporean man who works at a construction site at 60 Sims Drive as well as a 44-year-old man who lives at Block 54 Sims Drive are also among those infected. 

Of the 41 people who tested positive for Zika, 34 of them have fully recovered while seven are recovering at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, said MOH and NEA in the joint statement on Aug 28.

A total of 124 people were tested on Aug 27, after Singapore's first locally-transmitted case of the virus was reported, according to The Straits Times.

The first case, a 47-year-old Malaysian woman who resides at Block 102 Aljunied Crescent, has recovered and is under observation at the CDC.

None of the cases travelled to Zika-affected areas recently, which suggests that the virus was transmitted locally.

Malaysia said on Sunday it has stepped up the monitoring at the two main entry points to Johor following reports of the confirmed case in Singapore.

Singapore's health ministry said it has alerted clinics and hospitals to be "extra vigilant" and report patients with symptoms associated with the virus, mainly fever and rash, Reuters reported.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told local media more imported cases are likely because Singapore is an international travel hub. And because many Zika carriers display only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all – meaning infected people may not seek treatment – local transmission of these imported cases "is also very high", he said.

Zika infections in Brazil has been linked to microcephaly, a rare birth defect, Reuters reported.

According to MOH, pregnant women should adopt strict precautions if travelling to an affected area.

It added that those working, studying or living in an affected area who are sexual partners of pregnant women should adopt safe sexual practices, such as consistent and correct use of condoms during sex, or consider abstinence throughout the women's pregnancy.

More information on Zika can be found on MOH's website here, or click here for the full statement.

candicec@sph.com.sg

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