Zika virus: Singapore confirms 41 locally transmitted cases

BBC News : Singapore has confirmed 41 cases of the Zika virus which were locally transmitted.

"Zika Virus Outbreak in Singapore: 41 Locally Transmitted Cases Confirmed"
Image by Jason Goh from Pixabay

Most of those infected were foreign construction workers, and all lived or worked within the same region of the country, said the health ministry.

None were known to have travelled to Zika-affected areas recently. Thirty-four people have fully recovered but seven are still in hospital.

 

Zika generally has mild effects but has been linked to severe birth defects.

It is suspected of causing a condition called microcephaly, a deformation in which babies are born with small heads.

Zika, which is spread by mosquitoes but can also be sexually transmitted, was declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization in February.

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What are the symptoms of Zika?

  • Deaths are rare, and it is estimated that only one out of every five infected individuals develops symptoms. These symptoms may include mild fever, conjunctivitis (red, sore eyes), headache, joint pain, or a rash. In rare cases, the infection has been associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a nervous system disorder that can cause temporary paralysis. Currently, there is no vaccine or specific drug treatment available, so patients are advised to rest and stay hydrated by consuming plenty of fluids.

 

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Singapore declared its first imported Zika case in May, a 48-year-old local who had travelled to Brazil, where the outbreak started.

On Saturday, it announced that a 37-year-old Malaysian woman had contracted the virus locally. She is the only confirmed female case so far.

Thirty-six of the 41 cases announced on Sunday were foreign workers who worked in the same construction site.

The authorities have halted work at the site due to unsatisfactory housekeeping, which created conditions favorable for mosquito breeding. The ministry has stated that there is a possibility of further community transmission as some of the individuals who tested positive also reside or work in other parts of Singapore.

“We expect to identify more positive cases,” it added.

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