Zika cases surge to 115 in Singapore, 21 Chinese nationals among affected

Hong Kong, Sep. 1 : Singapore's Ministry of Health has confirmed that Zika virus is on a surge in the country, with 115 locally-transmitted cases, including a pregnant woman.

"Over time, we expect Zika cases to emerge from more areas," said Singaporean Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong in a statement released on Wednesday.

Low immunity of the people is the reason for this outbreak, according to Eng Eong Ooi, the deputy director of the Emerging Infectious Disease program at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore.

"The proportion of our population that are immune to the Zika virus is likely to be low in Singapore and if you don't have the immunity to provide the roadblocks, then it's likely that the virus will spread fast," CNN quoted Eng Eong Ooi as saying.

The majority of reported cases are among foreign construction workers based in the residential Aljunied Crescent neighborhood in Singapore.

Though Zika virus cases were limited to this area on Monday, by late Tuesday the Ministry of Health reported 26 new cases which showed how the Zika virus had spread to nearby residential areas.

The Ministry of Health yesterday said that the new confirmed cases were from the Aljunied and Sims Drive neighborhoods as well as the Kallang Way and Payar Lebar areas.

All patients have been admitted to the hospitals where they will stay until they have tested negative for the virus.

While Malaysia and Indonesia announced they would be implementing additional passenger screening procedures at its airports, the Foreign Ministries in the United States, Australia, Taiwan and South Korea have all issued alerts, advising pregnant women against travelling to Singapore.

Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry has said that its embassy in Singapore had been informed by the Singapore Health Ministry that 21 Chinese nationals in the country are confirmed to have been infected with Zika, adding the health situation was not serious and that some of them had recovered.

Singapore is also known to suffer widely from dengue virus, a mosquito-borne tropical disease that triggers high fevers, headaches, vomiting and skin rashes.

In 2016, the Ministry of Health announced that it expected as many as 30,000 cases in the country. Ooi explained that the rapid spread of Zika virus in Singapore was likely due to its similarities with the dengue virus.

Source: ANI