Channel NewsAsia 28 Sep 16
SINGAPORE: The Zika cluster located at Bishan St 12 (Blocks 122, 123 and 134) is the first Zika cluster to be closed since the first case of locally transmitted Zika virus infection was confirmed on Aug 27, the National Environment Agency (NEA) announced in a media release on Wednesday (Sep 28).
The cluster was closed on Sep 19 after no new cases were reported there after two weeks, NEA said, adding that it has continued to keep the area under "close surveillance" and will continue to do so until Oct 10 this year, three weeks after the cluster was declared closed.
NEA said the continued surveillance period takes into account the incubation period of the Zika virus and the lifespan of the Aedes mosquito.
"Even though the cluster has closed, the NEA urges all residents and stakeholders to continue to maintain vigilance and keep to a high standard of housekeeping to eliminate all mosquito breeding habitats, as there could still be asymptomatic cases in the area, which might fuel further transmission of the virus if there are mosquitoes in the vicinity," the media release said.
The Bishan cluster was first announced on Sep 6, and a total of five Zika cases were reported.
"Since the cluster was notified, NEA had conducted inspections in residential premises and outdoor areas, including common areas in the estate. Eight mosquito breeding habitats – comprising two in homes and six in common areas/other premises – were detected and destroyed," the agency said.
NEA also said it appreciates the cooperation and vigilance from both residents and stakeholders in the area in contributing to the closure of the cluster.
"This includes residents who kept their premises free from mosquito breeding, grassroots volunteers and community leaders who organised the Mozzie Wipeout Movement over the weekends and conducted outreach efforts, as well as premises owners and members of the Inter-Agency Dengue Task Force (IADTF), including the Town Council, for maintaining housekeeping in areas under their care," the release said.
CONTINUED VIGILANCE IS KEY: AMY KHOR
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Senior Minister of State for Health and for Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor thanked various stakeholders for working together to contain the spread of the virus.
"The closure was possible because everybody in the community - residents, grassroots organisations, premises owners and the Town Council, played their part in staying vigilant and taking care to prevent mosquito breeding at their premises," she said.
She also urged members of the public to "maintain a high standard of housekeeping to prevent mosquito breeding, as there may still be asymptomatic cases in the area".
EIGHT OTHER ZIKA CLUSTERS REMAIN
According to NEA, there are eight other Zika clusters located at Aljunied Crescent, Bedok North Ave 3, Joo Seng Road, Elite Terrace, Ubi Ave 1, Balam Road, Sengkang Central and Hougang Ave 7 as of Sep 27, 2016.
Out of these eight clusters, seven of them have not seen cases with an onset date in the past one week or more, NEA said.
"NEA is continuing with vector control operations and outreach efforts in the cluster areas," the release said. "When there are no cases with onset dates within the last two weeks at these clusters, they will also be closed under surveillance."
The agency also noted that Singapore's largest Zika cluster, located in Aljunied Crescent, has seen a drop in the number of cases reported. "At its peak, more than 20 cases were being reported there in a day, but this has dropped to about 29 cases in the past two weeks - approximately two cases per day," it said.
Channel NewsAsia 28 Sep 16