4 Locally-Acquired Zika Cases Confirmed in Singapore

Singapore Zika outbreak coincides with an extensive Denge virus outbreak in 2019
singapore city at night
Asia (Zika News)

There have been 4 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infections in the Republic of Singapore reported over the past 2 weeks.

The Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a press release on September 13, 2019, ‘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.’

With the presence of the Aedes mosquito vector in Singapore, ‘everyone must continue to maintain vigilance and play his part to prevent future localized transmission through eradicating mosquito breeding habitats in the neighborhoods,’ said NEA.

The Zika cluster is in close proximity to an 8-case dengue cluster near Bridport Ave / Cowdray Ave / Huddington Ave / Portchester Ave / Tavistock Ave in Singapore.  

The 5 breeding habitats in the dengue cluster area – comprising one in a home and four in common areas/other premises – have been detected and destroyed, said the NEA.

Additionally, Singapore residents are requested to allow NEA officers to carry out inspections and indoor spraying of their homes. And, the NEA urges all residents and stakeholders to maintain vigilance and take immediate steps to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats.

It is likely that the Zika virus disease had persisted in Asia since its emergence in the 1950s, but had remained elusive, reported The Lancet in 2016.

As an example, Yap Island raised the global alert about a resurgence of the Zika virus in 2007. 

Zika virus is a member of the Flaviviridae family, which includes several genetically-related arthropod-borne viruses (yellow fever, dengue, and Japanese encephalitis).

Zika virus disease is largely asymptomatic and generally of mild severity. 

However, alarming findings on the strong epidemiological associations between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome and fetal abnormalities (Mirocephenely) were subsequently reported.

Singapore, an island city-state off southern Malaysia, is a global financial center with over 5.5 million residents.

Tourism in Singapore is a major industry attracting about 17 million international tourists in 2017.

Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 2 Travel Alert regarding outbreaks of the Dengue virus in Singapore. 

This September 4, 2019, CDC announcement said ‘travelers to areas of risk should protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites by using an EPA-registered insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, and sleeping in an air-conditioned room or room with window screens or under an insecticide-treated bed net.’

During July, the US Department of State said in a statement ‘Dengue cases are on the rise in Singapore. Already in 2019, there have been more cases of Dengue in Singapore than in the years of 2017 and 2018 combined.’

Furthermore, a measle vaccination is important since Singapore is included in the CDC’s worldwide measles alert issued during June 2019.

The CDC recommends visitors to Singapore ensure they are up-to-date on several Routine Vaccinations.

And, if you are traveling from a country with risk of the Yellow Fever virus transmission and older than 1 year of age, including those who visit for 12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of Yellow Fever virus transmission, proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination must be presented.

The Yellow fever vaccine, Stamaril has limited availability in the United States. If you need to be vaccinated before your trip, you may need to travel some distance and schedule your appointment well in advance.

Additionally, the CDC suggests Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations when visiting Singapore.

These vaccines and related medications can be found at most travel vaccination pharmacies in the USA. 

Pre-trip, vaccination counseling appointments can be scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.

Zika News articles are published by Zika News