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photo: medicalgrapevineasia.com

41 confirmed cases of locally-transmitted Zika by MOH and NEA

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed 41 cases of locally-transmitted Zika in a joint press conference on Sunday with the National Environment Agency (NEA). All of 41 are residents or workers in the Aljunied Crescent and Sims Drive area. They include 36 foreign construction workers.

In the press conference today, MOH shared that 124 people (of which are 118 construction workers) have been tested on 27 August. 78 have tested negative and the remaining five cases are still pending.

MOH notes that out of the 41 cases, 36 were detected through active testing. Out of the 41 cases, 34 cases have fully recovered. The remaining seven, "who were mostly tested on Aug 27", are still symptomatic and recovering at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

The Singaporeans include a father and son who live at Block 62 Sims Drive. The father is a 65-year-old retiree while his son is a 21-year-old full-time National Serviceman who is doing his National Service at Khatib Camp.

As none of the cases are known to have travelled to Zika-affected areas recently, local transmission is likely to be the cause of the infection. These are in contrast to Singapore's first Zika case in May, a 48-year-old man who had visited Brazil, one of the Zika-affected countries.

Yesterday, MOH and NEA had announced that it has been informed out a case of Zika virus infection. The first case-patient is a 47-year-old female Malaysian who resides at Block 102 Aljunied Crescent and works in Singapore.  MOH noted that it was screening the patient’s close contacts, including household members and carrying out Zika testing on others living and working in the area who have symptoms of fever and rash.

The first known patient with Zika developed fever, rash and conjunctivitis from 25 August. She visited a general practitioner (GP) on 26 August and was referred to the Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where she was tested positive for Zika on 27 August. She has since been hospitalised for observation at the CDC. The patient is currently well and recovering.

MOH and NEA note that it is inevitable that there will be imported cases of Zika into Singapore due to the presence of Zika in the region and the volume of travel by Singaporeans as well as tourists, There is also risk of subsequent local transmission, as the Aedes mosquito vector is present here.

MOH and NEA expect to see further cases in time to come even though precautionary measures have been stepped up, as most infected persons may display mild or no symptoms.