MOH concerned visitors to Olympic Games might bring yellow fever to Singapore

Athletes take part in the Women's 1500m at the 2016 Rio Olympics Test Event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 16, 2016.
Athletes take part in the Women's 1500m at the 2016 Rio Olympics Test Event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 16, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) is concerned that people going for the Olympic Games in Brazil might bring yellow fever to Singapore, and is advising them to get vaccinated before they go.

This is because yellow fever is spread by the same Aedes mosquito that is responsible for dengue, which is endemic in Singapore, and the Zika virus - with at least one case identified here earlier this month.

The MOH said in a release on Tuesday (May 17) that while Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympic Games will be held in August, is not endemic for this disease, most states in Brazil are.

 

It expects more people from Singapore to go to Brazil for the games and advises them to get vaccinated at least 10 days before they go.

It said: "Although there are as yet no reported cases of yellow fever in Singapore, any importation of the disease risks the disease taking root here due to the presence of the Aedes mosquito."

It said the vaccine, which is available at more than 100 clinics, "is the most effective preventive measure against yellow fever" and confers lifetime immunity.

Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint ache, loss of appetite and nausea or vomitting.

However, most infected people have mild or no symptoms, so they could unwittingly bring the disease back with them.

It urged people who for medical reasons cannot be vaccinated to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long, covered clothing, applying insect repellent and by sleeping under mosquito nets or in rooms with wire-mesh that keep mosquitoes out.

They should see a doctor if they have any symptoms of yellow fever.

The release added that Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa are currently having large outbreaks of yellow fever.