Concerns on Zika virus infection for pregnant women voiced at PM Lee’s Facebook

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had earlier wrote on his Facebook page on Friday that many of people are closely following the news on the local Zika cases. He said that the government had been tracking the Zika virus for a while now, and knew it was only a matter of time before it reached Singapore.

The government announced its first founding on 29 August. Shortly after that, it announced that the numbers jumped to 41 cases and as of 2 September, there are 189 confirmed cases.

PM Lee said that scientists are still learning about this new disease. However, we know that for most people it is mild, and in fact often causes no symptoms at all.

“Pregnant women are at risk, as they are with other viral infections like dengue and chicken pox. Do take precautions and get tested if you show symptoms,” he wrote.

“The cases so far have been in Aljunied and Bedok, but we must assume that Zika is elsewhere in Singapore too. Our best defence is to eradicate mosquitos and destroy breeding habitats, all over Singapore. Do the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout. Let’s all do our part to fight Zika, and dengue as well,” PM Lee added.

Currently, two pregnant women were diagnosed with the disease. In a press release, the Ministry of Health and National Environment Agency said that the doctors are following up closely with them to monitor their health and the development of their babies.

As we all probably have learned that the consequences of pregnant woman who is infected can be more serious, as Zika virus infection may cause microcephaly in the unborn foetus of pregnant women.

Members of public should take note that a positive Zika test does not mean that the foetus is infected or harmed. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the risk of an infected mother giving birth to a child with microcephaly is between one to 13 percent.

However women, especially those who are pregnant or trying to be, still have the concerns since it may cause a huge impact on the lives of their children. The other concern is that it was extremely hard for them to find mosquito repellent all over the island, as people caught up in fear of the disease.

Some of them have popped their questions to the Prime Minister on his Facebook page.

  • Pamela Goh Crandall wrote, “Dear PM Lee, do you think you can actually allow pregnant mummies staying/working in the east to work from home (where possible, with approval from their supervisors) to avoid being outdoors during this period of time?”
  • Shu Hua wrote, “Dear PM Lee, I’m pregnant and I have trouble finding insect repellent with deet as it is sold out everywhere. Can u specially cater for us pregnant ladies to buy? Thank u.”
  • Aivy Chia wrote, “We understand that NOT ALL Zika patients show symptoms, why not give all pregnant women the option to do the test with or without symptoms at all public medical institutions?”
  • Mohana Balakrishnan wrote, “Dear Mr Lee, in pregnant woman, the effects can be devastating, after announcing the free test for pregnant women it seems very untrue as they’re being turned off for further test only if they come up w the symptoms, but what about those pregnant mums who doesn’t show any symptoms but infected w the virus n it could harm the unborn baby..what’s the measurements taken for all pregnant women??with or without symptoms they should be allowed for the test..please look into this matter”
  •  Joel Siah wrote, “I went to Guardian, Watsons and NTUC to hunt for repellent. Shelves are empty and staff are not able to advise when stock will be replenished. Why can’t this basic protection item be readily available? We are not even expecting it to be given to us for free!”
  • Louis Chan wrote, “Dear sir, i came to know of the May case only when it was reported in the papers on weekend about the 47 year old woman who got Zika. Could the May incident be the start of the transmission? Frankly speaking, I am concern for all pregnant ladies as this Zika is something they can’t avoid. Can the government provide all the necessary items eg repellent to them instead of they having to run about looking for such items and getting themselves more expose to the mosquitoes? I hope u read the many suggestions provided by us and won’t ignore our plea. Thank u.”
  • Alisa Ally wrote, “Dear Pm, i am 15 weeks pregnant and this anxiety and paranoid is killing me even though i applied patches and repellant. Can you authorise fumigation on daily and all zones areas?”
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