Singapore is redoubling its fight against the Zika virus following 41 locally transmitted cases confirmed by the country’s health ministry.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Health (MOH), 41 cases were discovered among residents and workers in the Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive area. Since they were not known to have traveled to Zika-affected areas recently, MOH said local transmission of the virus appears to have taken place.
Of the 41 individuals, 34 have fully recovered, while the other seven, who were designated “still symptomatic and potentially infected,” were still hospitalized. The government has also since issued a Stop Work Order for the construction site where most of the foreign workers were operating, as the housekeeping was found to be unsatisfactory with potential mosquito breeding habitats.
Zika is spread by the Aedes mosquito, which also spreads dengue.
While MOH said that the community transmission appears to be localized within the Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive cluster for now, it “could not rule out further community transmission in Singapore,” since some of those who tested positive also live and work in other parts of Singapore.
“We expect to identify more positive cases,” it added.
In response, MOH said the National Environment Agency (NEA) had already intensified its vector control operations in the infected area and also conducted outreach to residents and other stakeholders in the vicinity. Authorities are also set to introduce a set of broader control measures as well for residents as well as travelers entering Singapore.
Singapore had confirmed its first ever Zika case back in May, with authorities confirming that the virus had affected a 48-year old male Singapore permanent resident who had traveled to the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo from March 27 to May 7 (See: “Singapore Responds to First Zika Virus Case”). Brazil has been the country most affected by the recent outbreak of the Zika virus thus far.