The Zika virus has officially hit our shores.
(Just when we thought the haze and Jusof Kalla comments were the worst that we would be facing this weekend)
The Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) have been informed of a case of Zika virus infection. The patient is a 47-year-old female Malaysian who resides at Block 102 Aljunied Crescent and works in Singapore. As she had not travelled to Zika-affected areas recently, she was likely to have been infected in Singapore.
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.
“MOH and NEA are working together to carry out vector control and testing of residents in that area with fever and rashes so as to reduce the risk of further spread. I encourage those who are unwell and with these symptoms to visit their doctors for medical attention. We have also alerted our clinics in the area to look out for suspect cases and refer them to the CDC for testing.”
– Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong
For now, as an added precaution, all suspect cases of Zika virus infection will be isolated while awaiting confirmation of the blood test results.
The good news – Search & Destroy Operations
NEA has intensified vector control operations to control the Aedes mosquito population in the vicinity of Aljunied Crescent by immediately deploying about 100 officers to inspect the area. NEA is also conducting outreach efforts and distributing Zika information leaflets and insect repellents to residents living in the area.
NEA will also be activating partner agencies of the Inter-Agency Dengue Task Force to step up localised search and destroy efforts in their respective areas to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading further. These includes
- Inspecting all premises, ground and congregation areas
- Conducting mandatory treatment such as ultra-low volume (ULV) misting of premises and thermal fogging of outdoor areas to kill adult mosquitoes
- Increasing frequency of drain flushing and oiling to prevent breeding
- Public education outreach and distribution of insect repellents
What you can do – Take Precautions
To minimise the risk of any spread of Zika in Singapore, it is critical that all of us as a community take immediate steps to prevent mosquito breeding in our homes by doing the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout every alternate day, and protect ourselves from mosquito bites by applying insect repellent regularly.
The greatest precaution that you can take however is to stay informed and not let irrational fear control you.
Treat fear mongering articles with suspicion
Lives are at stake here and you can be sure that everyone (and i mean everyone!) will be recalled over the weekend to handle this issue.
MOH will provide updates on any further developments and our latest public health risk assessments.
Singaporeans should refer to MOH’s webpage on Zika (www.moh.gov.sg/zika) for the latest health advisory.