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Singapore has first imported case of Zika virus

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The first imported case of the Zika virus infection has been reported in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) in a joint release on Friday.

THE first imported case of the Zika virus infection has been reported in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) in a joint release on Friday.

The 48-year-old patient is a male Singapore permanent resident who had travelled to Sao Paulo, Brazil from March 27 to May 7. On Tuesday, the patient developed fever and rashes and was admitted to Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital on Thursday and isolated. He tested positive for the Zika virus infection on Friday.

"He will be transferred to the Communicable Diseases Centre at Tan Tock Seng Hospital for treatment and isolation to minimise the chances of being bitten by mosquitoes and spreading the infection in the community," said MOH and NEA in the joint release. "The patient is currently well and recovering. He will only be discharged upon being tested negative for the Zika virus."

MOH is screening the patient's household members; MOH and NEA will also alert residents in the Watten Estate vicinity to seek medical attention should they develop symptoms of fever and rash.

They highlighted that the patient's residence at Watten Estate is not an active dengue cluster. Meanwhile, the NEA has beefed up vector control operations to control the Aedes mosquito population in the surrounding areas.

However, they also warned that as the majority of people infected with the virus do not show symptoms, it is possible that some transmission may already have taken place before the first confirmed case of Zika was notified.

"Residents are urged to cooperate fully with NEA and allow its officers to inspect their premises for mosquito breeding and to spray insecticide to kill any mosquitoes," the release said.

Those who have returned to Singapore from affected areas should monitor their health for the next 14 days and consult a doctor if they have symptoms of Zika, such as fever, skin rashes, joint and muscle pains, headaches and red eyes.

For all our Zika coverage, go to bt.sg/zika