First case of Zika virus for 2018 reported in Singapore

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Read on for symptoms of the disease, and more...

Zika virus in Singapore raises its ugly head again, with the first case for 2018 reported last week (January 18). 

Channel NewsAsia confirms that this is the first incidence of Zika virus in Singapore after four months of no cases being reported. 

However, this appears to be an isolated case. The National Environmental Agency has not alerted the public to any Zika clusters in Singapore. There is also no information regarding where the January 18 patient contracted the disease from. 

Zika virus in Singapore: A quick history

The Ministry of Health says the last reported case of the Zika virus in Singapore was September 29 2017. The patient in this case is reportedly recovering well. 

The very first case of the mosquito-borne disease (locally transmitted) meanwhile, was reported in August 2016. The patient was a 48-year-old male Singapore Permanent Resident who had travelled to Brazil.

By the end of that year, approximately 450 people in Singapore were infected with the virus. 

Zika is spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito. It is particularly worrisome for pregnant mums, because the virus can cause neurological conditions such as microcephaly in the baby. This disease results in brain development abnormalities. 

Of those diagnosed with the  Zika virus in Singapore in 2016, 17 were pregnant women. Of them, two terminated their pregnancies (not related to the virus) and another had a miscarriage. The other 14 women gave birth to healthy babies, reports CNA. 

zika virus in singapore

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Quick facts about Zika you should know

Symptoms

According to Dr Christopher Chong, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital, most people with a Zika infection will show no symptoms.

But if symptomatic, the symptoms are typical of viral infections, which include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Bone aches
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Flu-like symptoms

These symptoms usually develop three to 12 days after a mosquito bite and can last for four to seven days. Although a majority of people don’t display any symptoms of a Zika infection, Dr Chong says that it is not necessary for pregnant women to get checked unless they become symptomatic.

What to do if you think you are infected

You can either get a referral for a test, or head to the emergency department of any hospital. Your blood or urine can then be checked for Zika through the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

This test is only able detect Zika infection in your blood within five to seven days of onset of symptoms and in your urine within 14 days. So it is important that pregnant women displaying symptoms get tested as soon as possible.

A message for pregnant mums 

Dr Chong says that not all Zika infected pregnant mums will have babies with microcephaly. “The foetus of a person with Zika infection does not necessary get infected or have microcephaly [and] the percentage [of this occurring] is not known,” he explains.

So the main thing you need to remember is not to panic. Speak to your doctor as soon as possible, if you think you have any Zika symptoms. 

Meanwhile, all Singapore families should remember the basics of preventing mosquito-borne diseases, such as keeping their surroundings clean, cleaning drains and emptying vases and pot holders with water frequently.

Source: Channel NewsAsia 

ALSO READ: Zika and Kids: Must-Read Information for Parents in Singapore

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