Take action to prevent spread of Zika here

Having been a victim of dengue fever, I am concerned about news of the Zika virus ("Zika: WHO declares health emergency" and "WHO fears Zika could spread to Asia, Africa"; both published on Feb 3).

It could certainly pose a global health risk, which requires a united response from everyone.

With dengue on the rise here, I am worried that Zika will spread "explosively" in our nation, with devastating consequences.

I am glad the Ministry of Health and the National Environment Agency are taking extra precautions against this new disease and I hope they do not let their guard down ("Singapore takes extra precautions against virus"; Feb 4).

Permanent reforms and health systems must be put in place to prevent the entry of the Zika virus to our shores.

There is currently no vaccine or medicine against Zika. The only way to avoid catching it is to avoid getting bitten by the Aedes mosquito that transmits the infection.

We must make it a priority to protect our pregnant women and their babies from harm.

I urge all Singaporeans to take appropriate precautions and immediate action to prevent mosquito breeding, as vector control is critical in preventing transmission and reducing the risk of the virus taking root in Singapore.

Let us not wait until the Zika virus arrives before we take action.

V. Balu