Zika virus likely here to stay, says Amy Khor

A shop at Pasir Ris West Plaza displays a notice about the Zika virus. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The Zika virus is likely here to stay, with cases popping up from time to time just like dengue, which is also carried by the Aedes mosquito.

With the presence of Aedes mosquitoes here, a high population density and the fact that infected individuals do not exhibit symptoms, it is "not surprising" that cases will pop up from time to time, said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor yesterday.

"We do expect that we will continue to have Zika virus cases over time, just like dengue," she said, noting that Zika is endemic to some countries in the region. While she did not name any country, Thailand is one country that has had Zika cases in past years. In the first half of this year, it had 97 Zika cases.

Yesterday, Dr Khor also revealed that the Government is reviewing its practice of isolating suspected and confirmed Zika patients. These patients could be allowed to rest at home if they take precautions such as using mosquito repellent, she said. This is in line with the government protocol for dengue fever.

Yesterday, another 27 cases were detected, bringing locally transmitted Zika cases here to a total of 242. While Singaporeans are concerned about the virus, "we should live our lives as normally as possible... (while) taking the necessary precautions", said Dr Khor, who is also Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2016, with the headline Zika virus likely here to stay, says Amy Khor. Subscribe