Zika Could Possibly be Spreading in Boon Lay Place; Residents Urged to Protect Themselves


Zika transmission has unfortunately been detected at Boon Lay Place.

A joint news release by Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) on 22 February 2024, confirmed one reported case of Zika virus reported in December 2023. Since then, no additional cases have been reported.

However, increased surveillance, including mosquito and wastewater testing, has revealed the persistent presence of the Zika virus in the area, indicating that further transmission remains a possibility.

The areas potentially affected include Boon Lay Place Market, Boon Lay Shopping Centre and HDBs surrounding them. This even includes the popular hawker centre there.

Source: nea.gov.sg

NEA and MOH have implemented additional precautionary measures, but they caution that further cases cannot be ruled out due to the virus’s tendency to cause mild or no symptoms in most infected individuals.

Understanding the Zika Virus and Recognising Symptoms

Zika virus, similar to Dengue, is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. It is primarily transmitted through the bite of the Aedes mosquito. The virus could also spread through sexual transmission, and from a pregnant woman to foetus. Currently, there are no vaccines or anti-viral drugs to combat the infection.

Unlike dengue, Zika is a mild and self-limiting disease. Some people might not even develop symptoms after being infected. In fact, according to MOH, only one in five infections are symptomatic.

However, it is crucial to be aware of potential symptoms including fever, rash, joint or muscle pain, headache as well as conjunctivitis, manifesting within 3 to 14 days and lasting up to a week.

Pregnant women are particularly advised to exercise caution, as Zika virus infection can lead to microcephaly, a serious birth defect characterized by a smaller than normal head size in newborns.

Preventative Measures Against Zika Virus Transmission

To mitigate further spread of the virus, MOH and NEA have recommended several protective measures for residents.

Firstly, residents can prevent mosquito bites through “S-A-W” actions.

Source: nea.gov.sg

Furthermore, residents are encouraged to cooperate with NEA officers for home inspections and insecticide spraying. Residents could also enclose rooms or install wire-mesh mosquito screens to block mosquito entry.

MOH has also informed doctors within the area to be more vigilant regarding the testing of Zika for patients. Public healthcare facilities offer testing at a subsidized rate of $60, while private patients are charged $150.

Men who have recovered from Zika should practise safe sex or abstain from sexual intercourse for at least three months. Similarly, women who have recovered should practice safe sex or abstain from sexual intercourse for at least two months.

More importantly, do not forget to flush your toilet bowls regularly to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes. Yes, mosquitoes can breed in there too.