Singapore confirms 41 locally-transmitted Zika cases


Source: Aljazeera

Singapore has confirmed 41 cases of locally-transmitted Zika virus, mostly among foreign construction workers, and says it expects more incidents to be identified.

All but seven of those infected had fully recovered, the country’s health ministry and the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a joint statement on Sunday.

The seven patients remained in hospital, the statement added.

On Saturday, authorities had confirmed a 47-year-old Malaysian woman living in southeastern Singapore as the city-state’s first case of a local transmission of the virus – which has been linked to a rare birth defect.

The authorities said they tested 124 people, primarily foreign workers employed on a construction site. Seventy-eight people tested negative and five cases were pending, while 34 patients had fully recovered.

Four Singaporean men had developed symptoms of the virus in the past week and were hospitalised on Saturday. It was not clear where the foreign workers were from or when their cases were detected. Singapore hosts a large contingent of workers from the Asian sub-continent.

None of those infected had travelled recently to Zika-affected areas. “This confirms that local transmission of Zika virus infection has taken place,” the statement said.

The ministry “cannot rule out further community transmission since some of those tested positive also live or work in other parts of Singapore”, the statement said.

“We expect to identify more positive cases.”

Singapore, a major regional financial centre and busy transit hub, which maintains a constant vigil against the mosquito-borne dengue virus, reported its first case of the Zika virus in May, brought in by a middle-aged man who had been to Brazil.

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