Singapore's first and largest local Zika cluster at Aljunied has closed; 2 active clusters remain

Thermal fogging at Sims Drive on Sept 4, 2016.
Thermal fogging at Sims Drive on Sept 4, 2016.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Singapore's first and largest local Zika cluster at Aljunied has closed, but two active clusters remain at Ubi Avenue 1 and Jalan Chengkak/Jalan Raya, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Tuesday (Oct 18).

The cluster at Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive closed on Oct 9 after no new cases were reported there for two weeks. In its press release, NEA said it would continue to keep the area under close surveillance until Oct 31, three weeks after the closure date.

The cluster was first notified on Aug 27 and a total of 298 Zika cases were reported. A total of 128 mosquito breeding habitats, comprising 60 in homes and 68 in common areas and other premises, were detected and destroyed during NEA inspections.

NEA, in its statement, said two active Zika clusters remain at Ubi Avenue 1 and Jalan Chengkak/Jalan Raya. The clusters were notified on Oct 13 and Oct 17 respectively. Sporadic cases continue to be reported in Singapore, it added.

Professor Duane Gubler, founding director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School, said: "The collective effort by NEA and the community has managed to rapidly contain what could have been a major epidemic.

"The Singapore holistic approach to controlling Aedes-transmitted diseases, involving intensified active surveillance, intensified adult and larval mosquito control, community outreach and clinical management, can serve as a model for other countries affected by these diseases."

MP Tin Pei Ling (MacPherson) thanked residents, grassroots leaders and stakeholders at the cluster for their efforts.

"NEA warns that there could still be asymptomatic or mild, undiagnosed cases in the area. As such, mosquito prevention and control remain key to preventing the transmission of the Zika virus. Let us all continue to do our part to fight Zika," she said.