Largest Zika cluster in Singapore closed

Channel NewsAsia 18 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE: The first local Zika cluster located at Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive area was closed on Oct 9 after no new cases were reported there for two weeks, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Tuesday (Oct 18).

Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive was Singapore's biggest Zika cluster with a total of 298 infections since the first case came to light on Aug 27.

NEA said it is keeping the area under close surveillance, and will continue to do so until Oct 31, three weeks after the cluster closure date.

TWO ACTIVE CLUSTERS REMAIN

Two active Zika clusters remain at Ubi Avenue 1 and Jalan Chengkak/Jalan Raya. These were recently declared cluster on Oct 13 and Oct 17 respectively. Additionally, sporadic cases continue to be reported in Singapore, indicating the presence of the Zika virus within the community, NEA stated.

"NEA urges all residents and stakeholders to maintain vigilance and continue to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats, as there could still be asymptomatic or mild, undiagnosed cases which might fuel further transmission of the virus if there are mosquitoes in the vicinity," it said in a media release.

Professor Duane Gubler, founding director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School said: “The collective effort by NEA and the community has managed to rapidly contain what could have been a major epidemic. The Singapore holistic approach to controlling Aedes-transmitted diseases, involving intensified active surveillance, intensified adult and larval mosquito control, community outreach and clinical management, can serve as a model for other countries affected by these diseases.”

The World Health Organisation had praised Singapore's response to the Zika outbreak, saying it was a "role model" in terms of transparency and quick reporting of infections.

- CNA/ly


Singapore's first and largest Zika cluster closed, 2 more remain: NEA
Today Online 18 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE – The first and largest locally-transmitted Zika cluster at Aljunied Crescent / Sims Drive area has been closed, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Tuesday (Oct 18).

This Zika cluster was first notified on Aug 27 and a total of 298 Zika cases were reported. Since the cluster was notified, the NEA had conducted inspections in residential premises and outdoor areas, including common areas in the estate.

Altogether, 128 mosquito breeding habitats – comprising 60 in homes and 68 in common areas/other premises – were detected and destroyed.

The NEA said the cluster was closed on Oct 9 after no new cases were reported there for two weeks. The agency will, however, continue to keep the area under close surveillance until Oct 31, some three weeks after the cluster closure date.

Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said the closure of the cluster demonstrated that “if all residents and stakeholders play their part by being vigilant and preventing mosquito breeding within their premises, we can keep Zika cases at bay”.

Mr Masagos Zulkifli, the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, added that Singaporeans still needed to "continue to maintain vigilance". "(We need to) ensure that we do not breed mosquitoes at our homes and other premises, as there may still be people in the area who do not display the symptoms of Zika and can fuel the further spread of Zika, if there are mosquitoes in the vicinity," he wrote in a Facebook post.

Two active Zika clustersb still remain: Ubi Avenue 1 and Jalan Chengkak / Jalan Raya. The NEA also said that sporadic cases of Zika continue to be reported in Singapore, “indicating the presence of the Zika virus within the community”.

Meanwhile, the NEA the surveillance period at the Aljunied Crescent / Sims Drive takes into account the incubation period of the Zika virus and the lifespan of the Aedes mosquito. The NEA said it would continue to inspect the common areas to remove any potential breeding habitats and carry out premises inspection based on data collected from the Gravitraps deployed.

For more information on Zika and details on current clusters, visit NEA’s website.

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