NEA steps up mosquito checks in Watten Estate after Singapore's first Zika case

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Authorities have stepped up efforts to destroy mosquito breeding grounds in the vicinity of the Watten Estate, a day after a resident who lived there became the first in Singapore to test positive for the Zika virus.

On Friday (May 13), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed that a 48-year-old permanent resident had contracted the virus after travelling to Sao Paulo in Brazil.

He developed a fever and rash from May 10, and was admitted to Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital two days later.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, NEA said it had intensified vector control operations to control the Aedes mosquito population in the areas around the case's residence.

The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito, which also transmits dengue Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Vivian Balakrishnan revealed that NEA had been conducting intensive fogging of the area since last night, and had completed fumigation of all public areas.

"We now need residents to help by opening their homes for inspection to enable NEA staff to conduct special misting to eliminate all adult mosquitoes and breeding areas," he wrote in a post on Facebook.

Mr Balakrishnan, who is also Foreign Minister, also said that NEA would take legal steps if necessary to gain access to vacant homes in the area.

According to The Straits Times, NEA had checked 35 premises in the area and destroyed seven mosquito breeding sites - three in public areas and four in homes.

Additional personnel, including about 160 who were deployed on Saturday, will conduct intensified operations in the area for 14 days to prevent further transmission of the virus, Channel NewsAsia reported. Anti-mosquito flyers and insect repellant have also been distributed to residents.

In its Facebook post, NEA urged residents to take immediate steps to prevent mosquito breeding to minimise the spread of Zika in Singapore.

The agency also urged residents of Watten Estate, Casa Perla, Hillcrest Arcadia, The Arcadia and Watten Hill Condominium to monitor their health and seek medical attention if unwell.

Meanwhile, Channel NewsAsia reported that the Zika patient was transferred to the Communicable Diseases Centre at Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Saturday morning for treament and isolation, and will only be discharged after being tested negative for the virus.


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