The Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) have confirmed several cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infection, some of whom have recovered. They are not known to have travelled to Zika-affected areas recently and are thus likely to have been infected in Singapore.
1. What is the Singapore Government doing about the locally transmitted cases?
Screening and remaining alert
MOH will continue to screen the close contacts of confirmed cases. All suspect cases will be isolated pending confirmation of the blood test results.
All GPs, polyclinics and hospitals have been alerted and are to immediately report patients with symptoms associated with Zika virus infection to MOH. MOH and NEA will also alert residents in the vicinity to seek medical attention should they develop symptoms.
For now, as an added precaution, all suspect cases of Zika virus infection will be isolated while awaiting confirmation of the blood test results.
NEA has intensified vector control operations to control the Aedes mosquito population. Vector control operations include:
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.
2. What is the Zika virus?
Zika virus infection is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. The Aedes mosquito is also a known carrier of the Dengue and Chikungunya viruses.
Zika is generally a mild disease. It may cause a viral fever similar to dengue or chikungunya, with fever, skin rashes, body aches, and headache. Some infected with the Zika virus may not even develop symptoms.
However, Zika virus infection may cause microcephaly in the unborn foetuses of pregnant women. Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition that manifests itself as birth defects in which a baby is born with significantly smaller heads.
3. How do I know if I have Zika?
The symptoms for Zika include:
Most people infected with the Zika virus do not develop symptoms. For those who do, the symptoms are often very mild. They usually develop within 3 to 12 days after the mosquito bite and often last between 4 to 7 days.
If you have travelled to an affected country, or live in an area with a known Zika case, you should monitor your health and consult a doctor if you are unwell, especially if you have a fever and rash.
We advise residents, especially pregnant women, in the Aljunied Crescent area to monitor their health. Seek medical attention if you are unwell, especially with symptoms such as fever and rash. 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.
4. Is there a cure for Zika?
At the moment, there is no cure nor vaccine to prevent Zika infection. Treatment is solely focused on relieving the symptoms. Those infected are advised to get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain with common medicines.
5. How can I play my part?
Do the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout to prevent the Aedes mosquito from breeding at home. Cooperate with the NEA, and allow its officers to inspect your premises for mosquito breeding and to spray insecticide to kill any mosquitoes. Protect yourself from mosquito bites by applying insect repellent regularly.
By: Nur Hidayah Binte Mohd Roslan & Gov.sg team