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Potential Zika Transmission At Boon Lay Place

22 Feb 2024

JOINT NEWS RELEASE BETWEEN NEA AND MOH

Singapore, 22 February 2024 - The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) are closely monitoring Boon Lay Place for potential Zika transmission.

2.             One Zika case was reported in December 2023 at Boon Lay Place. While there have been no more Zika cases reported in this area since then, enhanced surveillance involving mosquito and wastewater testing has revealed persistent Zika virus signals in the area, which suggests ongoing Zika transmission. (Please refer to the map in the Annex.) While MOH and NEA have stepped up precautionary control measures, we cannot rule out the possibility of further cases as most infected persons may display mild or no symptoms.

3.             MOH has alerted doctors to be vigilant and to test for Zika among patients with clinically compatible symptoms, especially for individuals residing or working in the Boon Lay area.

4.             We advise residents in and around the Boon Lay Place area, especially pregnant women, to protect themselves and monitor their health closely. They should seek medical attention if unwell with Zika virus infection symptoms, which include rashes, fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headache and/or conjunctivitis (red eye). They should also inform their doctors of the location of their residence and workplace.

Vector Control

5.             Similar to the dengue virus, the Zika virus infection is transmitted primarily by the Aedes mosquito. With the presence of the Aedes mosquito vector in Singapore, everyone must continue to maintain vigilance and play a part in preventing further transmission through eradicating mosquito breeding habitats at both premises and immediate surroundings.

6.             Since November 2023, NEA has been conducting intensive vector control operations at the Boon Lay area where dengue cases were also reported. Grassroots leaders were alerted and mobilised for house visits to remind residents to practise the Mozzie Wipe-out at the dengue clusters. Such efforts would also help to mitigate Zika transmission.

7.             Indoor spraying of insecticides at residential premises in the vicinity is being carried out to kill adult mosquitoes. Inspection and larviciding were also conducted at common areas to destroy any mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to allow NEA officers to inspect their premises, and spray insecticide to enable immediate removal of adult mosquitoes to stop the chain of Zika transmission.

8.             As part of the ongoing dengue control efforts, NEA officers and community leaders have conducted outreach activities in the vicinity to raise general awareness of dengue prevention, which entails the same measures to stem Zika - reiterate the need for source reduction to prevent mosquito breeding and advise residents to apply repellent as a precaution.

Health Advisory

9.             Zika is generally a mild and self-limiting disease. Zika virus infection is primarily transmitted by the bite of infected Aedes mosquito. It can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her foetus or through sex.

10.          Symptoms of Zika virus infection include rashes, fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headache and/or conjunctivitis (red eyes). However, most people infected with the Zika virus infection may not develop symptoms. Although rare, Zika virus infection can cause microcephaly in unborn babies of pregnant women. There are no vaccines or specific anti-viral drugs against Zika virus infection.

11.          Residents, especially those residing at Zika and dengue cluster areas, are reminded to prevent mosquito bites with the ‘S-A-W’ actions to protect themselves and their loved ones:

  • Spray insecticide in dark corners around the house
  • Apply insect repellent regularly, with DEET, picaridin or IR3535 as the active ingredient
  • Wear long-sleeve tops and long pants

12.          Other measures include enclosing rooms or installing wire-mesh mosquito screens to prevent entry of mosquitoes.

13.          Persons with Zika virus infection are also advised to take these protection measures against mosquito bites to prevent further spread. Infected men should practise safe sex or abstain from sex for at least three months after recovery to prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus.  If a woman is confirmed positive for Zika, she should practise safe sex or abstain from sexual intercourse for at least two months after recovery, before trying to conceive. 

14.          Please refer to MOH’s webpage on Zika (go.gov.sg/zika) for the latest health advisory, and NEA’s website (go.gov.sg/zikaclusters) for information on Zika cases and clusters

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ANNEX

22 Feb 2024 - Zika Annex