Singapore: NEA confirms 2 new Zika cases at Poh Huat Terrace, Terrasse Lane

The agency says that it was notified about the cluster on Tuesday and it has already started its operations to kill mosquitoes in the area.

Zika virus spreads
The larvae of Aedes aegyti mosquito are seen inside a laboratory in the Ministry of Health in San Jose, Costa Rica January 27, 2016. The Health Ministry confirmed on Tuesday the first case of the Zika virus in the country, according to local media. Reuters

Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Tuesday that two new cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infection have been confirmed at the Poh Huat Terrace and Terrasse Lane area near Hougang. Both cases are reported to be residents in the area.

NEA said it was notified about the cluster on Tuesday and it has already started its operations to kill mosquitoes in the area. The agency requested the public to be careful about new breeding grounds in their own localities.

According to NEA, the precaution methods are quite similar to its approach to dengue cases. It has also urged residents to let NEA officers carry out inspections and indoor spraying of their homes.

The authorities said the latest cluster is not far from the two other Zika clusters that were reported in Singapore this year. On Tuesday, the first cluster, at Simon Place, was closed and NEA said the area will be kept under surveillance.

Last Thursday, two other clusters were reported at Flower Road and Hendry Close area. Reports said the agency is continuing with operations to control the mosquito population over there.

The agency added that it has been conducting zika inspections even before the latest cluster was notified. "NEA has been conducting preventive inspections in the vicinity to detect and destroy any potential mosquito breeding habitats," it said.

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. Zika virus can cause birth defects and can also result in microcephaly in which the baby's head is smaller than expected.

In cases of adults, Zika infections have been linked to a rare neurological syndrome known as Guillain-Barre and other neurological disorders as well.

The World Health Organisation said people infected with Zika can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These Zika symptoms normally last for two to seven days.

NEA advised the members of the public to seek medical attention if they are unwell, especially with symptoms such as fever and rash.

There is no treatment or vaccine for Zika infection yet. Companies and scientists are working to develop a safe and effective vaccine for the virus. Zika is commonly said to be a close cousin of dengue and chikungunya.