Singapore Wages War On Mosquitoes As Suspected Zika Cases Reach 50

Singapore wages war on mosquitoes as suspected Zika cases reach 50

SINGAPORE, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 29th August, 2016) - Singapore clinics Monday reported more Zika infections, bringing the suspected total to 50, as mosquito-fighting teams saturated the scene of the outbreak. Inspectors from the National Environment Agency checking for mosquito-breeding sites visited homes in the eastern Aljunied Crescent district where 41 cases -- mostly foreign workers at a condominium construction project -- have been confirmed. Nearly all have recovered but nine more suspected cases of Zika virus infection -- both citizens and foreign workers -- were reported Monday by two community clinics, local media said. These cases were also in Aljunied.

"It's quite frightening because I thought Zika is something happening on the other side of the world. But now it's right here in my neighbourhood," customer service manager Josephine Kwan, who lives in the affected suburb, told AFP. Zika causes only mild symptoms for most people, such as fever and a rash, and has been detected in 58 countries particularly Brazil. But in pregnant women, it can cause microcephaly, a deformation in which babies are born with abnormally small brains and heads.

Singapore, despite the highest health care standards in Southeast Asia, is a densely populated tropical island with frequent rain.

Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water that collects in construction sites, open space and homes. It is also one of Asia's cleanest cities but has a chronic problem with dengue fever, which is spread by the same Aedes mosquito that carries the Zika virus. Singapore's first reported case of Zika in May involved a man who had visited Sao Paulo in Brazil earlier in the year. But all of the latest cases involved local transmission. The Straits Times newspaper quoted local doctor Tan Thai Keng, whose surgery reported four of the latest cases, as saying more women were visiting the clinic as news of the outbreak spread. They included a pregnant 32-year-old. "She wanted to find out whether she had the virus in her blood or not.

So we took her blood here and sent it to the lab at Tan Tock Seng," he said, referring to the main national hospital for communicable diseases. Neighbouring countries took steps to prevent the spread of the disease from Singapore.