A 47-year-old female Malaysian who resides and works in Singapore with no recent travel history is the country’s first locally transmitted, or autochthonous Zika virus case, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA).

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

The patient had developed fever, rash and conjunctivitis since Aug. 25. She visited a general practitioner (GP) the following day and was referred to the Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where she was tested positive for Zika on today.

She has since been hospitalized for observation at the CDC. The patient is currently well and recovering.

Health officials say there is risk of subsequent local transmission, as the Aedes mosquito vector is present here.

MOH is screening the patient’s close contacts, including household members. MOH is also carrying out Zika testing on others living and working in the area who have symptoms of fever and rash. At this point, three other suspect cases – two in a family who live in the area and an individual who works in the area – had preliminarily tested positive based on their urine samples. They are pending further confirmation tests.

Concerning dengue fever, the MOH reported an additional 222 dengue cases last week, an increase from the week prior. Health officials do note that this is the traditional peak dengue season in Singapore and numbers are expected to rise.

Since the beginning of the year, Singapore has recorded 10,952 dengue cases and seven fatalities.

Following a comprehensive risk assessment of Wolbachia technology which has determined it to be safe, with no risk to human health and insignificant risk to ecology, NEA will be embarking on a six-month long small-scale field study from October this year to gain a further understanding of the behavior of male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito population in the urban environment.

The small-scale field study involves the release of male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes on a regular basis at three selected sites located within Braddell Heights, Nee Soon East and Tampines West.

The male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes will seek female Aedes aegypti to mate with. These male Wobachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes do not bite and transmit disease. Their resulting eggs do not hatch and there will be no offspring because such matings are biologically incompatible.