Singapore has confirmed 115 cases of the Zika virus, including a pregnant woman who was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease.
The woman lives in the Aljunied area in Singapore’s southeast, where most previous cases have been detected, Reuters reports.
A member of her household was earlier diagnosed with Zika, according to the Straits Times newspaper.
The Zika virus, which has spread through the Americas and the Caribbean since late last year, is generally a mild disease but is a particular risk to pregnant women as it can cause microcephaly — a severe birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.
In a joint statement with the National Environment Agency (NEA), the health ministry said it identified another potential cluster of Zika virus infection in east Singapore, involving three previously reported cases.
“Over time, we expect Zika cases to emerge from more areas. We must work and plan on the basis that there is Zika transmission in other parts of Singapore and extend our vector control efforts beyond the current affected areas,” Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said in the statement.
Several countries have warned pregnant women or those trying to conceive to avoid traveling to Singapore.
The outbreak and travel advisories come as the tourism industry in one of the world’s busiest travel hubs already faces weak global economic growth. It is also just weeks ahead of the Singapore Formula One motor-racing Grand Prix — a major sporting and entertainment attraction.
Preparations for the race weekend are “on track and proceeding as per normal,” the promoter, Singapore GP, said in an emailed statement.
In addition to 24 new Zika cases confirmed on Wednesday, nine were detected in the health ministry’s testing of previous cases.
NEA said it is to widen the scope of its mosquito control operations – clearing drains and spraying potential breeding habitats with insecticide – to include the new potential cluster area.
– Contact us at [email protected]