16 pregnant women in Singapore confirmed to have Zika

Vimita Mohandas Channel NewsAsia 23 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE: A total of 16 pregnant women have been confirmed to have the Zika virus in Singapore, the Ministry of Health said on Friday (Sep 23), nearly a month since the first locally transmitted Zika case was identified by authorities.

The doctors of the pregnant women are following up closely with them to provide counselling and support.

As of Friday, there are 387 confirmed Zika cases in Singapore, according to data on the National Environment Agency's website.

Responding to queries by Channel NewsAsia, the Health Ministry confirmed that 658 Zika tests were conducted between Sep 7 and Sep 17.

Of these, 197 were for pregnant and or symptomatic individuals who required the test.

The Ministry also added that it is exploring plans to set up a national surveillance programme to monitor the development of babies born to pregnant women with Zika. It added that it is keeping close tabs on the pregnant women who have been notified to have the Zika virus infection.

Early results from a study in Brazil has linked Zika infection in pregnant women with microcephaly in their babies - a birth defect marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems.

Microcephaly has been tracked by Singapore's national birth defects registry since January 1993.

Between 2011 and 2014, the annual number of microcephaly cases registered with the registry in Singapore ranged from five to 12 per 10,000 live births in Singapore.

There have been no microcephaly cases associated with the Zika virus infection reported in Singapore so far.

- CNA/dt

Singapore sees fewest new Zika cases in a week since start of outbreak
Channel NewsAsia 23 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE: At the end of the fourth week since the first locally transmitted Zika case was announced in the Republic, the number of new patients affected by the disease appears to be plateauing beneath the 400 mark.

Two new cases were announced on the National Environment Agency (NEA) website on Friday (Sep 23), bringing the total number of newly infected patients confirmed since last Saturday to 19.

This is less than a third of the 65 cases in the same period a week ago, continuing a steadily decreasing trend of falling numbers from the 189 and 115 cases announced in the first and second weeks of the outbreak respectively.

As of Friday, 387 cases of Zika have been reported in Singapore. Of these, 16 are pregnant women, the Health Ministry confirmed in a separate development, adding that it is exploring plans to set up a national surveillance programme to monitor the development of babies born to Zika patients.

There are currently nine existing Zika clusters in the country. The Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive cluster remains the largest, with 291 cases linked to it as of Friday, and the Elite Terrace cluster the second largest, with 13 cases.

Data on the NEA website showed that neither of the two new cases announced on Friday is linked to existing Zika clusters.

The number of new dengue cases in Singapore also dipped this week, falling to a three-month low. A total of 175 dengue cases were reported in the week ending Sep 17, the second-lowest weekly figure this year and the lowest since Jun 11, according to figures on the NEA's website.

Like Zika, dengue is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. As at Sep 22, there are 36 active dengue clusters in Singapore, four times as many as current Zika clusters.

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