Zika case: More than 500 premises inspected, over 30 breeding sites destroyed by NEA

NEA officers and contractors carry out misting, inspection and issue notices to residents at Watten Estate on May 15, 2016.
NEA officers and contractors carry out misting, inspection and issue notices to residents at Watten Estate on May 15, 2016. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - The National Environment Agency (NEA) has destroyed more than 30 mosquito breeding sites and inspected more than 500 premises in Watten Estate and its surrounding areas over the last two days.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event on Sunday (May 15), Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources as well as Health, provided an update on ongoing vector control efforts by the authorities.

Singapore's first confirmed Zika case was announced last Friday, as a 48-year-old man tested positive for the virus after travelling to Sao Paulo, Brazil, on a business trip.

The man has since been transferred to the Communicable Diseases Centre at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and is recovering well, said Dr Khor. She added that the patient, who is a Singapore permanent resident, will remain in isolation until he has been tested free from the zika virus.

"The idea is really to prevent him from getting mosquito bites and mitigating local transmission," said Dr Khor.

Symptoms of the zika virus are similar to dengue, but milder, and include fever, rashes and joint and muscle aches. Preliminary research, however, has led the World Health Organisation to conclude it can cause microcephaly - or abnormally small heads - in unborn children if mothers are infected.

It also causes Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare condition in which a person's immune system attacks his nerves.

Both zika and dengue viruses are spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Dr Khor urged residents to remain vigilant in the fight against zika and dengue. Those who experience symptoms such as rashes, after returning from zika-affected countries, should see a doctor.

As most breeding sites are found in households, residents should also frequently check and remove stagnant pools of water in their premises.