Two more Indians have been infected with Zika virus in Singapore, taking the total number of Indian nationals tested positive for the mosquito-borne
disease in the city-state to 15, health officials said on Sunday.
As Singapore grapples with rising number of the mosquito-borne disease, Indian High Commission in Singapore said they are in regular contact with Singapore Health Ministry which has confirmed 26 new cases of locally transmitted Zika virus as of Saturday noon, bringing the total cases to 215.
Authorities are continuing with their efforts to bring the population of Aedes mosquitoes under control in affected areas.
With the two new cases, total number of Indians infected with Zika virus reached 15 in Singapore, officials said. Community outreach activities are being conducted across the country over these two weekends to ask the people to join in the collective efforts in the fight against the mosquito- borne virus, a joint statement from ministry and the National Environment Agency said.
The ministry is reviewing the practice of isolating potential Zika-infected patients, Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources and Health, Amy Khor said.
Currently, those who are suspected of having infected with Zika are isolated at the Communicable Disease Centre as they await their test results. Those found to be Zika-positive are isolated in hospitals. The Ministry is considering letting suspected Zika-infected patients rest at home while their blood and urine samples are tested, and sending confirmed cases home to recuperate, said Khor.
“We are reviewing the practice of isolating Zika-positive patients who are actually clinically well and do not need to be hospitalised. They could be sent home to recuperate but take necessary precautions like applying repellent so they don’t get bitten,” The Straits Times quoted Khor as saying.
Doctors have observed that Zika-positive patients admitted to hospitals are generally well and have very mild symptoms, and are discharged within one to two days after testing negative for the virus. Besides, four in five Zika-infected persons do not show any symptoms of the virus, Khor said.
Another factor for reviewing the practice of isolating patients is that “there are people in the community who are infected but do not know they are”, so isolating the infected ones may not be effective, she added.
In February, the World Health Organisation had declared Zika a public health emergency after women affected by it had given birth to children with microcephaly, a birth defect with small head size.
(With agency input)