Zika outbreak: Another pregnant woman among 31 new cases; 3 cases not linked to existing cluster

A pregnant woman was confirmed to be among the 31 new cases of Zika in Singapore. ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

SINGAPORE - Another 31 new cases of Zika were confirmed in Singapore as of noon on Thursday (Sept 1), including a pregnant woman, the authorities said.

She is the second pregnant woman who has tested positive for the virus.

"She is linked to the Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive cluster. Her doctor is following up closely with her to provide support and counselling," said the statement by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The first case of a pregnant woman infected by the Zika virus was confirmed on Wednesday (Aug 31). She lives in the Aljunied Crescent and Sims Drive area. A member of her household had earlier been diagnosed with Zika. But health experts said it was unlikely that she was infected by that person or vice versa, because the symptoms emerged around the same time.

Of the 31 new cases confirmed on Thursday, three cases are not linked to any existing cluster. They live in Tagore Avenue, Yishun Street 81 and Harvey Crescent.

But Mr Timothy Toh, who lives at Yishun Street 81, said that it is hard to take precautions as mosquitoes are everywhere.

"I'm not worried, it's nothing compared to dengue. Dengue is deadlier," said Mr Toh, 31, an operations support executive.

In addition, five more past cases were identified in a look-back exercise by MOH, bringing the total number of locally transmitted cases to 151.

A total of 49 breeding habitats - comprising 26 in homes and 23 in common areas and other premises - have been detected and destroyed, said NEA.

Two rounds of thermal fogging have been completed and another round will be conducted this week.

NEA officers and grassroots volunteers have completed outreach efforts to distribute Zika information leaflets in the Aljunied Crescent and Sims Drive cluster, and have commenced outreach in the expanded cluster areas in Paya Lebar Way and Kallang Way.

Control operations were started at Bedok North Avenue 3, Joo Seng and Punggol Way on Thursday after people living there were diagnosed with Zika.

In his first remarks on Zika since Saturday when the first locally transmitted case was reported, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post on Thursday: "The cases so far have been in Aljunied and Bedok, but we must assume that Zika is elsewhere in Singapore too.

"Our best defence is to eradicate mosquitoes and destroy breeding habitats, all over Singapore."

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