Singapore reports first Zika cluster of the year after 3 cases in Serangoon Gardens

Singapore reports first Zika cluster of the year after 3 cases in Serangoon Gardens

An Aedes Aegypti mosquito on human skin
An Aedes Aegypti mosquito on human skin. (File photo: AFP/LUIS ROBAYO)

SINGAPORE: Three cases of locally transmitted Zika infection have been confirmed in the Serangoon Gardens area, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Friday (Sep 13), making this Singapore's first Zika cluster of the year. 

All three are residents at Hemsley Avenue.

"Residents and stakeholders are urged to maintain vigilance and continue to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats, as there could still be asymptomatic or mild, undiagnosed cases which might result in further transmission of the virus if there are mosquitoes in the vicinity," said NEA.

The Zika cluster is close to an eight-case dengue cluster at Bridport Avenue/Cowdray Avenue/Huddington Avenue/Portchester Avenue/Tavistock Avenue, which was notified on Aug 20, said NEA. 

Five mosquito breeding habitats in the dengue cluster have since been destroyed, the agency added. 

There have been a total of 10 Zika cases in Singapore this year, according to NEA's website. 

Singapore reported its very first imported case of Zika in May 2016, and the first locally transmitted case came a few months later in August. By the end of that year, more than 450 people had been infected. 

In 2017, there were 67 confirmed cases of Zika, of which three were imported. One case of Zika was reported in 2018, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

The virus has been associated with neurological diseases such as microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with a smaller head due to abnormalities in the development of the brain. 

Both Zika and dengue are spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito. 

There's been a surge in dengue cases this year, with nine deaths and 11,490 cases. 

READ: Most dengue clusters closed, dengue cases down, says Masagos

NEA urged residents to continue to prevent mosquito breeding habitats. 

"Residents are requested to allow NEA officers to carry out inspections and indoor spraying of their homes," said the agency. 

"With the presence of the Aedes mosquito vector here, everyone must continue to maintain vigilance and play his part to prevent future localised transmission through eradicating mosquito breeding habitats in the neighbourhoods."

NEA added that people are advised to seek medical attention if they are unwell, especially with symptoms such as fever and rash. They should also inform their doctors of the location where they live and work.

Source: CNA/gs(hm)