The Ministry of Health (MOH) recently reported a new case of the Zika Virus in Singapore. This is the first reported case in the country since March 2020.
According to MOH officials, they discovered the imported case on the 22nd of August 2022. Before, the first record on the island was in 2016.
Zika Virus in Singapore Resurfaces With New Case
The Ministry of Health (MOH) recently reported its first Zika Case in Singapore since March 2020. According to their latest weekly infectious disease bulletin, officials confirmed the case during the last week of August 2022.
On the 4th of September, MOH announced the confirmation of the Zika Virus symptoms in the recent imported case in Singapore. Fortunately, the first patient recorded this year already recovered.
Aside from that, MOH learned that the residence of the case was not an active dengue cluster. Despite this, officials plan to conduct inspections to remove mosquito breeding habitats. In addition, they scheduled fogging to kill adult mosquitoes.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health will be doing all these necessary actions around the location. They are aiming to reduce the likelihood of local Zika transmission, especially around the area.
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In relation to the Zika Virus, the National Environment Agency (NEA) data showed new cases of dengue. They recently recorded more than 600 dengue cases in the same week.
The Zika Virus infection transmits primarily through the Aedes mosquito, which is similar to dengue. At present, there are about 194 active dengue clusters in Singapore.
There is currently no active Zika cluster in the country. However, there are about 75 dengue clusters. These clusters received the red identification which means it has 10 or more cases.
The country recorded the first confirmed cases of Zika Virus infection back on the 13th of May, 2016. Prior to the most recent Zika case in Singapore, the last case recorded was in March 2020.
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, they recorded approximately 450 Zika Virus cases in Singapore. 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.
How Does Zika Virus Affect Pregnancy?
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.
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The Zika Virus may not be as harmful to normal people but it’s not the same with infected mums-to-be. The virus poses a threat to both the mother and the baby in their womb.
Heartbreakingly, the possibility of passing the Zika Virus to babies of pregnant mums is high. Moreover, Zika infections may cause a birth defect, which is known as microcephaly and other brain problems.
Differences Between Zika and Dengue
One thing that Zika and Dengue have in common is that they are both mosquito-borne viruses. Additionally, both viruses are commonly spread by a certain species of mosquito, the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
Moreover, dengue is a more common and known disease compared to Zika. Unfortunately, both viruses do not have any vaccine or medicine to fight them.
Fortunately, those infected can get treatments that help in the recovery from any of the two mosquito-borne viruses. The dengue or Zika Virus symptoms include:
- Muscle and joint pain
Meanwhile, the symptoms of Zika could last only for days or weeks, and then they subside. On the other hand, dengue symptoms typically last for weeks; it also often leads to bleeding and bruising.
People with Zika Virus rarely get very sick to go to the hospital. Additionally, dengue is more likely to be life-threatening compared to Zika.
Meanwhile, some evidence proved that the Zika Virus can be transmitted through sex and blood transfusion. However, sexual transmissions of the virus are relatively low.
Things You Should Know About Zika Virus Pregnancy
When it comes to this mosquito-borne disease, people prefer a normal infection to a Zika Virus pregnancy. If you are a pregnant woman, Zika infection will likely affect your pregnancy once you get infected with it.
It would be better for you to avoid mosquito bites if you live or travel to countries where the Zika Virus is most active. We also discourage pregnant women from travelling to areas affected by Zika outbreaks.
If you are planning to get pregnant and you need to travel to countries where there are active cases of Zika Virus, you may consider postponing the pregnancy plans. As mentioned above, Zika can be spread through sex.
If you are pregnant already and have travelled to places with active cases of Zika, it would be best to get tested.
Consult or talk with your doctor about everything you need to know about the Zika Virus if you are planning to have a baby.
Quick Facts About Zika You Should Know
To fully prepare for a possible outbreak, parents need to know the different Zika Virus symptoms that may appear in Singapore. Below, we listed information about the infection and other facts that parents need to know.
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:
- 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 to 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.
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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 necessarily 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.
This article was updated by Kaira De la Rosa and Kamille Uriella Batuyong.
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