Singapore Sees Quick Rise in Number of Zika Cases

     (CN) — Singapore has reported 56 cases of Zika infections transmitted locally, the latest nation to experience an outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus that is rapidly becoming a pandemic.
     The island city-state confirmed 15 more cases late Monday after announcing 41 over the weekend according to the Straits Times newspaper, which cited the nation’s health ministry.
     Thirteen of the new cases occurred in the same area where the virus was first detected.
     Sinapore announced its first Zika infection in May, brought in by a 48-year-old man who had traveled to Brazil.
     “We expect to identify more positive cases,” the Ministry of Health said on Monday. “Given that the majority of Zika cases are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and mosquitoes in the affected areas may already have been infected, isolation of positive cases may have limited effect to managing the spread.”
     The agency said it is now focused on vector control, deploying more than 200 officers to infected areas to conduct outreach to residents and other stakeholders, and mass spraying of nearby residences.
     Officials have also sprayed insecticide and cleared drains of stagnant water in residential areas at high risk of further Zika infections.
     The initial 41 locally transmitted cases were contracted around the Aljunied district, including workers at a construction site owned by Singapore-based real estate developer GuocoLand.
     The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary vector of Zika, which has spread across Latin America and the Caribbean since 2015.
     Florida was the first state in the continental United States to report local transmission of Zika, after four people contracted the virus in a Miami area neighborhood in July.

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