Zika Virus In Singapore: New Update From Health Ministry Brings Number Of Confirmed Cases To 56

The Zika virus in Singapore has become more apparent, as most recent reports update the number of confirmed cases from 41 to 56, after less than 24 hours of monitoring in the small, but crowded nation.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) statement cited in a report from CNN revealed that 15 more patients who were being monitored for Zika virus has been confirmed, in addition to Monday’s latest count of 41.

This means that Singapore now has 56 confirmed cases of Zika virus, all of which were reportedly locally-transmitted since the first case of locally-transmitted Zika was reported last Saturday, August 27.

According to a statement from the Ministry, patients who are considered symptomatic have not travelled outside the city-state or to any Zika-affected areas recently, which brings to light the spread of the virus within the nation.

“They are not known to have traveled to Zika-affected areas recently, and are thus likely to have been infected in Singapore,” the MOH confirmed.

A report from the Wall Street Journal revealed that the increase in the number of confirmed Zika virus cases in Singapore was from a “look-back” conducted by the Ministry with the National Environment Agency to determine cases they may have missed, due to the disease’s symptoms being very similar to other mosquito-borne diseases, like dengue.

Zika Virus Spread
[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]

“The look-back exercise will likely uncover more previously undiagnosed cases of Zika,” the Ministry said in a statement.

This means that as they continue to scour past patients with Zika-like symptoms, it is possible that the numbers could increase and bring forth the possibility of a Zika virus outbreak in Singapore.

Most of the Zika virus patients recently confirmed by the health authority in Singapore were laborers who were reportedly working in the same area when they caught the disease.

Seven out of 56 remain symptomatic and are being treated at the Tock Seng Hospital, while the others have regained their health and were sent home.

To prevent further spread of the mosquito-borne virus, Singapore’s National Environment Agency sent over 200 people to spray insecticide and conduct Zika-preventive measures in the affected area, including cleaning drains which could act as hosts for mosquitoes to propagate.

Even so, the Singaporean government assured its citizens that the MOH and the NEA are working hand-in-hand to prevent further spread of the virus.

“MOH and NEA are working together to carry out vector control and testing of residents in that area with fever and rashes so as to reduce the risk of further spread,” Singaporean Health minister Gan Kim Yong stated.

“I encourage those who are unwell and with these symptoms to visit their doctors for medical attention. We have also alerted our clinics in the area to look out for suspect cases and refer them to the CDC for testing.”

The first case of locally-transmitted Zika virus in Singapore, which was covered by the Straits Times on Saturday, August 27, was a 47-year-old Malaysian woman living in the Aljunied Crescent.

Zika virus tests conducted at Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC) turned up positive, which made her the first confirmed patient of Zika virus in Singapore.

According to the report, the patient did not travel abroad recently and is already recovering from the disease, because she was immediately referred to the CDC two days after she showed symptoms of Zika.

Microcephaly
[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]

Although she was the first to catch the microcephaly-causing virus without traveling abroad, hers was not the first case of Zika virus in Singapore.

Straits Times revealed that the first confirmed patient of Zika virus in Singapore was a 48-year-old male permanent resident, who reportedly went on a business trip to Sao Paulo in Brazil.

According to a previous report from the outlet, the patient traveled to the Zika-stricken South American country between March 27 and May 7.

When he showed signs of the disease in May, the male Zika patient was admitted to Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital and was immediately isolated while his tests were being conducted.

The next day, his test results came out positive and sparked state-wide fear on the onset of the virus in the city-state of Singapore.

[Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images]