New Zika cluster in area near earlier two

Two cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infection in Singapore have been confirmed at Poh Huat Terrace and Terrasse Lane area, near Hougang, NEA said on Tuesday
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Two new cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infections have been found at the Poh Huat Terrace/Terrasse Lane area, in the neighbourhood of two other clusters discovered recently.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) yesterday said both new cases are residents in the vicinity, and the new cluster has been notified.

Vector control operations and outreach efforts have started in the new cluster, said NEA, which urged the community to take action.

Read also: First Zika cluster of 2017 reported at Simon Place in Hougang

This comes barely a week after the second Zika cluster of the year was found nearby at Flower Road/ Hendry Close, in the Kovan area.

Meanwhile, the cluster at Simon Place, off Poh Huat Road, which was the first cluster found this year, closed yesterday and will be kept under surveillance, said NEA.

Zika ClusterPhoto: The Straits Times

It added that "residents and stakeholders are urged to maintain vigilance and continue to eliminate mosquito-breeding habitats, as there could still be asymptomatic or mild, undiagnosed cases which might result in further transmission".

NEA is also continuing with vector control operations in the Flower Road/Hendry Close cluster.

Zika outbreak in Singapore

  • There have been 41 cases of locally-transmitted Zika virus infection here, according to the Ministry of Health and the National Environment Agency.
  • 12 / 27 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
  • None of the cases travelled to Zika-affected areas recently, which suggests that the virus was transmitted locally.
  • All of the infected are residents or workers in the Aljunied Crescent and Sims Drive areas, including 36 foreign workers.
  • NEA has stepped up its anti-mosquito measures - which include fogging and increased frequency of drain flushing - in the affected area and implicated dorms.
  • Meanwhile, residents said they felt assured by the increased efforts to combat the disease.
  • NEA began distributing insect repellents and leaflets with information on Zika to Sembawang Drive residents, having already done so in the affected area.
  • 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.

Outreach efforts are ongoing, including distributing information leaflets and insect repellents. Residents are requested to allow NEA officers to carry out inspections and indoor spraying of their homes too.

Most infected people do not develop symptoms, heightening the risk of a "resurgence as it may take some time before a reintroduced Zika virus is detected", said NEA.

Members of the public should seek medical attention if they are unwell, especially with symptoms such as fever and rash. They should inform their doctors of the location of their residence and workplace.

Read also: New Zika cluster in Hougang

This article was first published on Apr 12, 2017. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.