Zika outbreak: Mosquito control efforts stepped up in Zika clusters; residents stay vigilant

Fogging around Bedok North Avenue 3 on Sept 1, 2016.
Fogging around Bedok North Avenue 3 on Sept 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Fogging around Bedok North Avenue 3 on Sept 1, 2016.
Fogging around Bedok North Avenue 3 on Sept 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Fogging in the neighbourhood across the road from the Sims Drive construction on Sept 1, 2016.
Fogging in the neighbourhood across the road from the Sims Drive construction on Sept 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: SEOW BEI YI
Chemicals being sprayed into drains at Bedok North Avenue 3 near Block 407 to prevent mosquito breeding on Sept 1, 2016.
Chemicals being sprayed into drains at Bedok North Avenue 3 near Block 407 to prevent mosquito breeding on Sept 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: SAMANTHA BOH
Fogging at Bedok North Avenue 2 on Sept 1, 2016.
Fogging at Bedok North Avenue 2 on Sept 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Information leaflets being passed out to residents by town council members on Sept 1, 2016.
Information leaflets being passed out to residents by town council members on Sept 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
A Block 404 resident holds on to a bottle of repellent given to her by a town council member on Sept 1, 2016.
A Block 404 resident holds on to a bottle of repellent given to her by a town council member on Sept 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Pest control workers wait to enter a household at Block 404 in Bedok North Avenue 2 on Sept 1, 2016.
Pest control workers wait to enter a household at Block 404 in Bedok North Avenue 2 on Sept 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
An NEA officer and a pest control worker inspect and spray insecticide at a household kitchen in Block 404, Bedok North Avenue 2, on Sept 1, 2016.
An NEA officer and a pest control worker inspect and spray insecticide at a household kitchen in Block 404, Bedok North Avenue 2, on Sept 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Volunteers from the Bedok Town Council assisting the NEA give out informational flyers and inspect repellent to residents at Block 404, Bedok North Avenue 2, on Sept 1, 2016.
Volunteers from the Bedok Town Council assisting the NEA give out informational flyers and inspect repellent to residents at Block 404, Bedok North Avenue 2, on Sept 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
NEA officer inspecting flats at Bedok North Avenue 2 on Sept 1, 2016.
NEA officer inspecting flats at Bedok North Avenue 2 on Sept 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Mosquito control efforts were in full force on Thursday (Sept 1) morning, a day after it was revealed that the Zika virus might have spread outside the initial Aljunied-Sims Drive cluster.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday night that a new potential cluster had emerged in Bedok North Avenue 3, where three previously reported cases live.

At around 8.30am on Thursday, fogging operations were carried out around housing blocks in the area and chemicals were sprayed into drains to prevent mosquito breeding.

Exterminators were accompanied by National Environment Agency officers as well as volunteers from the town council who distributed informational flyers and insect repellent to residents.

Over at Sims Drive, fumigation was also underway at the Sims Urban Oasis construction site in Sims Drive and its vicinity. The construction site, whose workers were among the first group of locally transmitted Zika cases in Singapore, was slapped with a stop-work order after mosquito breeding grounds were found.

 

Bedok residents went about their daily activities on Thursday but most say they were stepping up vigilance against mosquitoes.

Just before 11am, there was an early lunchtime crowd at the hawker centre at Block 216, Bedok North Street 1.

Information technology engineer Tan Kok Soon, 34, was having fishball noodles with his three-year-old son Jarrell.

The father of four said that all the windows in the family home were shut to keep out mosquitoes.

"I'm more worried about the kids," said Mr Tan. "My wife and I apply mosquito repellent on them before they leave home for childcare every morning."

Anxiety was more apparent among pregnant residents in the neighbourhood as although Zika is generally mild in adults, it can cause foetal defects for those infected during pregnancy.

Ms Noor Diah Binte Ahmad Junsi, 40, who is seven months pregnant and lives in Bedok North Avenue 1, said she has been closely following the news of the Zika outbreak.

She said she has already been taking precautions, such as checking her kitchen for stagnant water and spraying her room on a daily basis.

When she heard of the potential cluster in Bedok North Avenue 3 on Thursday morning, she immediately told her husband to inform the rest of their family.

Ms Noor Diah has a younger sister and two sisters-in-law, all of whom are pregnant too. They live in nearby neighbourhoods such as Serangoon, which have not yet been hit by the virus.

"I am especially worried for one of my sisters-in-law, who is only in her first trimester," she said.

 

To date, there are a total of 115 Zika cases in Singapore.