Babies born to women with Zika could be monitored

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is exploring plans to set up a national surveillance programme to monitor the development of babies born to pregnant women with Zika, it told Channel NewsAsia.

This is even as 16 pregnant women have been confirmed to have the Zika virus in Singapore, MOH told The Straits Times separately yesterday.

This is double the eight cases involving mothers-to-be that it announced on Sept 11.

The doctors of the pregnant women are following up closely with them to provide counselling and support.

The ministry itself is keeping close tabs on the pregnant women, who have been notified that they have the Zika virus infection.

It confirmed that 658 Zika tests were done between Sept 7 and last Saturday.

Of these, 197 were for pregnant and/or symptomatic individuals who required the test.

The first locally transmitted case of Zika surfaced in Singapore almost a month ago.

Zika infections in pregnant women have been linked to microcephaly - abnormally small heads that can lead to severe developmental problems - in their babies. These cases were mainly in Brazil.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2016, with the headline 'Babies born to women with Zika could be monitored'. Print Edition | Subscribe