The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) yesterday announced yesterday notified the public about the first locally transmitted case of Zika. Today (28 Aug) MOH) said that 40 more Zika patients have been confirmed in the Aljunied Crescent-Sims Drive area, bringing the total number of patients to 41. More cases are expected to emerge, MOH added at a press conference.
34 people of the 41 patients have fully recovered, while seven still display symptoms of the illness. They are recovering at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Testing for the virus began yesterday (Aug 27) after a doctor working in the area reported an unusual increase in viral fever. The people tested include 118 construction workers.
MOH and NEA have identified “areas of concern outside of cluster” where some confirmed Zika patients live or work. These areas are:
- Khatib Camp
- Sembawang Drive
- Kranji Road
- Joo Chiat Place
- Senoko South Road
- Toh Guan Road East
- Lorong 101 Changi
The Health Minister, Mr Gan Kim Yong, said that his Ministry did not know about the Zika cluster earlier but intentionally kept silent.
The first imported case of Zika virus infection in Singapore was reported on 13 May 2016. On 27 August 2016, the first case of locally transmitted Zika virus infection in Singapore was reported.
In a FAQ MOH said:
“With the presence of Zika in our region and the volume of travel by Singaporeans as well as tourists, it is inevitable that there will be imported cases of Zika into Singapore. There is also risk of subsequent local transmission, as the Aedes mosquito vector is present here. While MOH and NEA have stepped up precautionary measures, we expect that there may be further cases, as most infected persons may display mild or no symptoms. It is possible that some transmission may already have taken place before this case of Zika was notified.
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.
MOH has alerted all GPs around the patient’s home and workplace to be extra vigilant and to immediately report patients with symptoms associated with Zika virus infection to MOH. Residents living in the vicinity should seek medical attention should they develop symptoms.”
The MOH further advised residents of Aljunied Crescent-Sims Drive area (especially pregnant women) to monitor their health. It added:
“They should seek medical attention if they are unwell, especially with symptoms such as fever and rash. They should also inform their doctors of the location of their residence and workplace. Those without these symptoms but who are concerned that they have been infected with the Zika virus should consult and follow the advice of their doctors regarding the monitoring of their pregnancy.”
Most people infected with the Zika virus do not develop symptoms. Otherwise, they usually develop within 3 to 12 days after the mosquito bite and are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya. Symptoms include:
- Joint pains, muscle pain, headache
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
Symptoms often last between 4 to 7 days.
The symptoms of Zika virus infection are often very mild. In some cases, they may be mistaken for dengue.
There is currently no known vaccine or specific treatment against the Zika virus and treatment is directed only at alleviating symptoms.