Reports of confirmed Zika cases in Singapore last year indubitably left many worried about infection. And with the discovery of the first Zika cluster of 2017 at Simon Place (near Kovan, in Hougang), the virus, is once again at the forefront of our minds.
Pregnant women, in particular, are likely to be especially concerned given the danger that the virus could pose to their unborn child as well as the possibility of microcephaly (babies are born with small heads). Symptoms, according to the Ministry of Health website, include fever, joint pain, muscle aches, headache, red eyes and rashes.
In this article, Dr Kevin Chua of Drs Chua & Partners shares some important facts about the virus and how we can best prevent it:
Dr Kevin Chua
The Zika Virus is a mosquito-borne disease.
The disease is often mild and is self-limiting. In fact, only one in five people exhibit symptoms should they become infected. Children born from mothers who have been infected with the virus while they were pregnant can be born with unusually small heads (microcephaly) as well as other brain disorders.
If you are of child bearing age, remember to take precautions if you plan on travelling to a country endemic with the infection. Take steps to protect yourself from being bitten. Use insect repellant and wear light coloured clothing that covers as much of your body as possible. Stay indoors and avoid going to areas where the risk of being bitten is more likely.
If you are pregnant, stay away from areas with endemic infection.
There is evidence that infected men can pass on the infection to their pregnant partners during sex. Practice safer sex throughout the pregnancy or if you can, abstain.
At home, prevention is key. Do the five-step Mozzie Wipeout
- Change water in vases/bowls on alternate days.
- Turn over all water storage containers.
- Remove water from flower pot plates on alternate days.
- Cover bamboo pole holders when not in use
- Clear blockages and put Bti insecticides in roof gutters monthly.
The most up to date information regarding the virus in Singapore is here. Stay vigilant.
Drs Chua & Partners (AV) Pte Ltd is a family clinic located at Blk 125 Bt Merah Lane 1, #01-174 (Tel: +65 6377 3179). Find out more at their website here