Singapore mass sprays residences as virus expected to spread

Singapore mass sprays
residences as virus
expected to spread

Singapore mass sprays
residences as virus
expected to spread

Officials sprayed insecticide and cleared drains
of stagnant water in residential areas of
Singapore at high risk of further Zika
infections on Monday after 41 locally
transmitted cases were confirmed in the city
state.
Workers wearing fumigation masks traveled
methodically through high-rise public housing
estates in seven separate areas of the island,
inspecting plant pots closely as they sprayed
insecticide via thermal fogging machines.
The health ministry on Saturday confirmed
Singapore’s first locally-transmitted case of
Zika, with the tally rising to 41 just a day later.
All of the infected people were either
residents of the Aljunied district or workers at
a construction site owned by GuocoLand in the
area.
“We expect to identify more positive cases,”
the ministry said on Monday in its latest
update on the outbreak.
“Given that the majority of Zika cases are
asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and
mosquitoes in the affected areas may already
have been infected, isolation of positive cases
may have limited effect to managing the
spread,” it added.
Singapore, a major regional financial center
and busy transit hub, which maintains a
constant vigil against the mosquito-borne
dengue virus, reported its first case of the Zika
virus in May, brought in by a middle-aged man
who had been to Brazil.
GuocoLand, which is headquartered in
Singapore and has developments across Asia,
was ordered on Saturday to stop work on the
building site where 36 of the infected people
worked. It will remain closed until the
company rectifies the conditions that allowed
mosquitoes to breed and steps up
preventative measures, the health ministry
said.
The Zika virus, carried by mosquitoes, was
detected in Brazil last year and has since
spread across the Americas. It poses a risk to
pregnant women because it can cause severe
birth defects. It has been linked in Brazil to
more than 1,600 cases of microcephaly, where
babies are born with abnormally small heads
and brains.
The World Health Organization said on
Sunday it did not know “which lineage of Zika
is circulating” in Singapore or “what the level
of population immunity is to this lineage of
Zika in Asia.”
Singapore’s health ministry said some 19
mosquito breeding habitats were detected and
destroyed in its first sweep of the Aljunied
area on Sunday when it fumigated around a
third of the 6,000 homes.
“I feel afraid,” said Ng Kai Yee, an 18-year-old
female student who lives near the construction
site believed to be a source of the outbreak. “I
heard quite a lot about how harmful Zika virus
is to girls, especially pregnant women.”
Authorities have urged those living and
working in the risk areas, especially pregnant
women, to monitor their health and seek
medical attention if they are unwell.
Of the 41 people known to have been infected,
34 have already fully recovered. Only the first
case reported was a woman.

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