Singaporean health officials have reported more locally acquired, or autochthonous Zika virus cases today, including the first case in a pregnant woman. She is living in the Aljunied Crescent/ Sims Drive area.

Aedes aegypti Image/CDC
Aedes aegypti

The number of cases are up to 115 as of Wednesday. This includes 24 new cases reported today plus nine cases that were detected as a result of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) look-back testing of previous cases.

In addition, MOH has identified a potential cluster of Zika virus infection at the Bedok North Avenue 3 area.

Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong said, “Over time, we expect Zika cases to emerge from more areas. We must work and plan on the basis that there is Zika transmission in other parts of Singapore and extend our vector control efforts beyond the current affected areas. All Singaporeans can play our part to prevent mosquito breeding.”

The Singapore outbreak has caught the attention of US health officials. Today, at a Georgetown Law panel, “Zika Virus: Our Common Future”, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, MD said, “I really think we need to keep our eye on Singapore, among other places.

“It went from a handful of cases to 50, to 80 and now it’s well over 100 cases,”he said.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel notice for Singapore.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said it would begin mosquito control operations at the potential new cluster at Bedok North Avenue 3, saying that vector control remains the mainstay in reducing the spread of Zika. “Our efforts will extend to other parts of Singapore. The National Environment Agency will be stepping up its vector control efforts to wider areas,” it said.

Singapore has battled dengue fever in recent years, a viral disease transmitted by the same mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, as Zika virus. To date, Singapore has reported 11,153 cases since the beginning of the year.