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Zika virus infects 41 in Singapore through local transmissions

29 August 2016

A traveller walks past a travel advisory on the Zika virus infection in Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016.

He pointed out that Malaysia was vulnerable to the infection because Aedes mosquitoes could carry the virus.

The matter has been confirmed by The Ministry of Health (MOH) of the country.

Singapore reported the first imported case of Zika virus infection in May after a 48-year-old man contracted the virus after a visit to Brazil earlier in the year.

Noor Hisham added monitoring of the Zika virus was also being done through continuous laboratory surveillance by the National Public Health Laboratory and the Institute of Medical Research where between June 2015 until last Friday, 784 blood samples had been tested from patients displaying signs of Zika virus infection.

"We expect to identify more positive cases", the joint statement said on Sunday.

Amidst speculations regarding the possible spread of Zika virus at the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year, the World Health Organization confirmed on its website on Thursday that no laboratory confirmed cases of the virus have been found among the spectators, athletes or in anyone associated with the event.

Thirty-six of those infected are foreign labourers working at a construction site in the area, according to the statement.

Zika, carried by some mosquitoes, was detected in Brazil past year and has since spread across the Americas.

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But the Singapore outbreak appears to be the largest "cluster" discovered in Asia in the current epidemic.

Zika has few visible symptoms on most people, but can be damaging and even fatal for fetuses. For the 1 in 5 who develop symptoms, it causes a viral fever with skin rashes, bodyache, and headache.

Pregnant mothers infected with the virus are at risk of delivering babies with microcephaly, a rare condition in which the baby is born with a small head and there is calcification in the brain.

None of the 124 tested had travelled to Zika-affected countries recently.

The agency has the authority to enter buildings by force if necessary to destroy habitats where mosquitoes can breed.

Local residents welcomed the clean-up. "This concerns me because maybe ina couple of years I want to have another (child)".

Im very scared of mosquitoes because they always seem to bite me, they never bite my husband, she said.

Seventy-eight people tested negative and five cases were pending.

Zika virus infects 41 in Singapore through local transmissions