Singapore confirms it now has 41 cases of the Zika virus, and, so far, all are locally-transmitted cases. In a statement, the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) says all the cases are residents or workers in the Aljunied Crescent/ Sims Drive area in Geylang, they are not known to have traveled to Zika-affected areas recently, and are thus likely to have been infected in Singapore.
The first confirmed case was a 47-year-old female Malaysian who lives in Aljunied Crescent and works in Singapore. The patient developed fever, rash and conjunctivitis (what we commonly know as sore eyes) on August 25 and when she visited a physician on August 26, she was immediately referred to the Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. She tested positive for Zika on August 27 and has since been hospitalized for observation at the CDC. She is reportedly doing well and recovering.
Following protocol, the MOH screened the patient’s close contacts including household members, and tested others living and working in the area who have similar symptoms of fever and rash. Doctors in the area were also alerted to be vigilant and immediately report patients who present similar symptoms.
Two days after the first Singaporean patient was confirmed to have Zika, MOH reported 40 more confirmed cases of the Zika virus. Of the 40 cases, 36 were identified through active testing of potentially infected persons. Thirty-four of the patients have already fully recovered, while the other seven--who are still showing symptoms and are still potentially infectious--are recovering at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Government officials have also identified, "other areas of concern outside of cluster" where some of the victims live or work. These are Khatib Camp, where one of the victims, is a full-time national serviceman; Sembawang Drive; Kranji Road; Joo Chiat Place; Senoko South Road; Toh Guan Road East; and Lorong 101 Changi. They are urging residents to take immediate steps to prevent mosquito breeding in their homes and to protect themselves from mosquito bites by applying insect repellent regularly.
Last week, Hong Kong also reported its first case of the Zika virus. Since it’s outbreak in Brazil late last year, Zika has been declared a global health emergency. The mosquito-borne disease, which is proven to cause microcephaly and other neurological defects in newborn babies of infected mothers, can also be transferred. Know more about the virus here.
The Zika virus is carried by the same type that also carries dengue and chikungunya diseases, so it's important to avoid getting bitten by mosquitos especially if you are pregnant. Know how to protect your family best here and here.