The National Environment Agency announced on 11 April that there have been two new cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infections at the Poh Huat Terrace/Terrasse Lane area, off Yio Chu Kang Road.

This is the third cluster of the year. A cluster is only identified when at least two cases are reported within a span of 14 days and are located within 150 m from one another. According to the NEA, both residents reside in the same area. Personal details of both individuals are not disclosed.

This brings the total number of cases in 2017 to 13, with six other isolated cases that were reported since January. The first case of locally transmitted Zika infection in the country was reported on 27 August 2016, and a total of 17 expectant mothers were confirmed to have contracted Zika as of 17 December 2016.

Vector control operations and outreach efforts at the cluster have started and the NEA urges the community to take immediate action.

All three clusters are nearby each other

The latest cluster is not far from the two other Zika clusters reported in Singapore earlier this year. The first cluster, at Simon Place was closed on Tuesday and is currently being monitored, nearly two weeks after the cases were confirmed.

The NEA said that "residents and stakeholders are urged to maintain vigilance and continue to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats, as there could still be asymptomatic or mild, undiagnosed cases which might result in further transmission".

Vector control operations are also conducted in the nearby Flower Road/Hendry Close cluster in Kovan, where 5 cases were confirmed last week.

The three Zika clusters are located near each other. Photo credit: Straits Times
The three Zika clusters are located near each other. Photo credit: Straits Times

NEA urges all forms of preventive measures to be taken

Outreach efforts such as distribution of information leaflets and insect repellents to households are ongoing to increase awareness about Zika. Residents are constantly reminded to take precautions and to take measures to prevent mosquito breeding such as the five-step Mozzie Wipeout.

Residents are also requested to allow NEA officers to carry out inspections and indoor spraying of their homes, the agency said in a statement.

It reminded that most infected people do not develop symptoms, increasing the risk of a "resurgence as it may take some time before a reintroduced Zika virus is detected".

Members of the public are also advised to seek medical attention immediately if they are unwell, especially if they are experiencing symptoms such as fever and rash. Doctors should also be informed of their location of residence and workplace, said NEA.

Currently, there is no still no known preventive treatment against Zika despite various efforts to develop a vaccine. MIMS

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