SINGAPORE: 31 new cases of locally transmitted Zika were confirmed on Thursday (Sep 1), including three cases not linked with any existing cluster, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) in a joint statement.
These three patients live in Tagore Avenue in Upper Thomson, Yishun Street 81 and Harvey Crescent, which is in Simei.
Shortly before the new cases were identified, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned that Singapore "must assume Zika is elsewhere in (the country)" apart from Aljunied and Bedok, where the majority of cases so far have been.
An additional five cases were detected as a result of MOH’s look-back testing of previous cases. The authorities added that the look-back exercise is now completed. A total of 236 samples were taken, of which 52 tested positive, and 184 were negative.
Thursday's update brings the total number of locally transmitted Zika infections in Singapore to 151.
The new cases include the second pregnant woman in Singapore to be diagnosed with Zika. Like the first case, which was confirmed on Wednesday, the woman is living in the Sims Drive/Aljunied Crescent cluster, authorities said.
PRE-EMPTIVE CHECKS CARRIED OUT IN HIGHER-RISK AREAS: NEA
NEA said that vector control remains key to reducing the spread of the Zika virus. "NEA takes a systematic and holistic approach to arrest mosquito borne transmission in Singapore, through surveillance, prevention and control, outbreak management and outreach. The objective is to keep mosquito-borne disease incidence low through reducing the mosquito population and breaking the disease transmission chain."
The agency added that it not only conducts checks for mosquito-breeding habitats based on cases, but also takes a preventive and risk-based approach through pre-emptive checks in areas assessed to be at higher risk, even in the absence of cases.
This is similar to its approach to dengue cases, NEA said.
49 MOSQUITO-BREEDING SPOTS IN ALJUNIED DESTROYED: NEA
The agency added that it is continuing with vector control operations to control the Aedes mosquito population in the existing Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive cluster.
49 breeding habitats – comprising 26 in homes and 23 in common areas or other premises – have been detected and destroyed, it said. Indoor spraying, misting and oiling were conducted, and daily misting of common areas is ongoing. Two rounds of thermal fogging have been completed and another round will be conducted this week.
NEA added that its officers and grassroots volunteers have completed outreach efforts to distribute Zika information leaflets in the Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive cluster, and have begun their outreach in the expanded cluster areas in Paya Lebar Way/Kallang Way.
It called for residents to cooperate fully with NEA and allow its officers to inspect their premises for mosquito breeding and spray insecticide to kill any mosquitoes. NEA added that to ensure any breeding spots are destroyed quickly, its officers may use force to enter premises that are not accessible to them, after serving requisite notice on the premises' owners.