Zika wont spread like dengue in Singapore

The Zika virus will come to Singapore but is unlikely to result in major outbreaks here in the way that dengue has, said an infectious diseases expert.

The virus has infected millions of people in South America, with Brazil claiming it is the reason why more than 4,000 babies have been born with abnormally small heads since October last year.

But Lim Poh Lian, who heads Infectious Diseases at the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, said that when Zika arrives here, it is likely to have a similar effect as chikungunya.

The first transmission of chikungunya in Singapore was in 2008 but numbers have remained low, peaking in 2013 with 1,059 cases. Last year, 42 people were infected.

To prevent Zika’s spread, anyone with a confirmed infection will be hospitalised until tests show they no longer harbour the virus in their blood, Dr Lim said.

As both Zika and dengue have similar symptoms, she said a person would be suspected to have Zika only if he or she had been to an area where there is an outbreak.

A blood test would confirm this within 48 hours.

Zika is normally a mild disease, although it is feared to be dangerous to unborn babes if their mothers are infected.Read More

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