The Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) have confirmed three local cases of Zika virus infection. All three cases either reside or work in the Kovan area. Two are currently recovering at home while one is hospitalized and is stable. None of the three cases is pregnant.
MOH has alerted doctors to be vigilant and to test for Zika among patients with clinically compatible symptoms, especially for individuals residing or working in the Kovan area. The cases’ family members have also been advised to monitor their health closely for the next two weeks.
Residents, especially pregnant women, in the Kovan area are advised to monitor their health. They should seek medical attention if unwell with Zika virus infection symptoms. They should also inform their doctors of the location of their residence and workplace.
While MOH and NEA have stepped up precautionary control measures, we cannot rule out that there are further cases, as most infected persons may display mild or no symptoms.
Indoor spraying of insecticides at residential premises in the vicinity is being carried out to eradicate any adult mosquitoes. Larviciding has also been conducted at common areas to destroy any mosquito breeding. Source reduction efforts remain ongoing in the vicinity. Residents are urged to allow NEA officers to inspect their premises and conduct spraying of insecticide, to enable immediate removal of adult mosquitoes to stop the chain of Zika transmission.
NEA officers and community leaders will conduct outreach activities in the vicinity to raise general awareness of Zika, reiterate the need for source reduction to prevent mosquito breeding and advise residents to apply repellent as a precaution.
Similar to the dengue virus, the Zika virus infection is transmitted primarily by the Aedes mosquito. With presence of the Aedes mosquito vector in Singapore, everyone must continue to maintain vigilance and play his part to prevent further localized transmission through eradicating mosquito breeding habitats at their premises and immediate surroundings. Residents, especially those residing at Zika and dengue cluster areas, are reminded to carry out the ‘S-A-W’ actions to protect themselves and their loved ones:
• Spray insecticide in dark corners around the house
• Apply insect repellent regularly
• Wear long-sleeve tops and long pants
Zika is generally a mild and self-limiting disease. Symptoms of Zika virus infection include fever, rashes, joint pain, muscle pain, headache and conjunctivitis (red eyes). However, many people infected with the Zika virus infection do not develop symptoms. Although rare, Zika virus infection can cause microcephaly in unborn babies of pregnant women.
To prevent mosquito bites, individuals should apply mosquito repellent with DEET, picaridin or IR3535 as the active ingredient, wear long sleeve-clothing and stay in rooms which are air-conditioned or have wire-mesh screens.
Persons with Zika virus infection are advised to take these protection measures against mosquito bites to prevent further spread. Infected men and women should practice safe sex or abstain from sex for at least three and two months after recovery to prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus, respectively.