Singapore to focus on vector control as Zika cases cross 300

Singapore, Sep 13 (IANS) As Singapore confirmed 333 cases of Zika, including of eight pregnant women, the city-state’s Health Minister on Tuesday outlined measures to tackle the mosquito-borne virus, including focusing on vector control and monitoring of babies born to infected women.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, in a statement in Parliament, said that over 500 blood samples a month were tested for Zika from January this year. Close to 4,000 blood samples were tested between February and August, before the first confirmed case was reported on August 27, he said.

He said the government will not isolate or hospitalise Zika patients.

Gan said the ministry has worked with National Environment Agency’s Environmental Health Institute to put in place a surveillance program for Zika two years ago, Xinhua news agency reported.

The sudden surge of Zika infected cases from August 27 to August 28 was due to the “active back-tracing process”. He said the ministry only confirmed the first locally transmitted Zika case on August 27, and then released information the same evening.

To manage Zika in the long-term, Gan noted that efforts were now focusing on vector control. The ministry will monitor babies born to pregnant women with Zika over time.

The minister reiterated that subsidised Zika testing was extended to all Singaporeans beyond the affected clusters.

These infection involved seven clusters, with slightly more than 80 per cent of the total cases from the main cluster in Aljunied, Sims Drive and Paya Lebar Way.

–IANS

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