Sin­ga­pore’s Zika cases send warn­ing sig­nal

Fiji Sun - - World News - CNN

In just one week, Zika cases in Sin­ga­pore have gone from zero to 258, rais­ing con­cerns about a po­ten­tial rapid surge in cases across Asia. A re­cent study es­ti­mates that roughly 2.6 bil­lion peo­ple in the re­gion and Africa could be at risk of con­tract­ing the virus, which has been linked to the neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der mi­cro­cephaly in un­born ba­bies.

It’s not yet clear why Zika has spread so sud­denly in Sin­ga­pore. Many of the cases are thought to be lo­cally-trans­mit­ted by the Aedes ae­gypti mos­quito.

Sin­ga­pore’s Min­istry of Health said anal­y­sis of two cases found they had likely evolved from a strain of Zika that was al­ready cir­cu­lat­ing in South­east Asia.

Malaysia con­firmed its first case of Zika in­fec­tion in a 58-year-old wo­man -- who had vis­ited her daugh­ter in Sin­ga­pore.

The coun­try re­ported its first lo­cal­ly­trans­mit­ted case on Septem­ber 3, with author­i­ties ex­pect­ing more to come. “In Asia, you have megac­i­ties with pop­u­la­tions be­tween five to 10 mil­lion peo­ple. The Aedes ae­gypti thrives in these densely-packed ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments,” said Eng Eong Ooi, deputy direc­tor of the Emerg­ing In­fec­tious Dis­ease pro­gramme at DukeNUS Med­i­cal School in Sin­ga­pore.

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