Singapore: First Zika cluster of 2017 discovered in Hougang, fogging begins

NEA has released a notice stating that thermal fogging will be carried out to get rid of adult mosquitoes.

Genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are pictured at Oxitec factory in Piracicaba Reuters

The confirmation of two locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus at Simon Place, near Kovan in Hougang and the discovery of a cluster have triggered frenzy among people. Though MOH declined to reveal any information about the patients, who fortunately are not pregnant, it has ordered vector control operations in the area.

NEA has released a notice stating that thermal fogging will be carried out. Officers were also seen going from door to door at about 9am informing residents about the fogging. Residents were urged to stay indoors and keep their pets in safe places. They were also asked to cover food properly during the time of fogging.

According to Channel News Asia, Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Sylvia Lim said, "Residents living in this area are quite used to clusters of mosquito-borne diseases - in the last few years, we've also had dengue outbreaks. So they are quite resilient, they generally know what to do and how to protect themselves."

"I understand that in the past some residents had been inspected a few times and there was a bit of fatigue on that. But you never know how things have changed, so please cooperate with the authorities...At the same time, we should remain calm and keep in perspective ... and not overly panic over the situation," she added.

Other than the thermal fogging, Sylvia Lim also said that the authority will carry out a low-volume misting in all homes.

Zika cases seem to be on the rise in Singapore. Other than these two new cases, six other isolated cases have been brought to notice. Citizens have been asked to keep vigilant in detecting mosquito breeding spots and take necessary precautions to not get infected by the virus. In case of any symptoms such as fever and rash, they are advised to seek medical attention immediately.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947. It can be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. The virus can cause birth defects and can also result in microcephaly in which the baby's head is smaller than expected.