Filipinos in Singapore alerted vs Zika threat

THE Department of Health (DOH) is strongly urging Filipinos in Singapore to be vigilant against the threat of Zika virus after more than 40 cases have been reported over the weekend.

According to DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial, Filipinos in Singapore, especially those that are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, must avoid getting bit by mosquitoes.

“Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. The real danger is to pregnant women as others would just have mild flu-like symptoms that need no hospitalization,” said Ubial in an interview.

The official said they must consistently employ self-protection measures such as using mosquito repellents, using mosquito nets when sleeping, and wearing long sleeves.

On the other hand, she said that those planning to get pregnant or are already pregnant planning to go to Singapore should first forego their plans.

“Advice is for pregnant women to stay in the country until they deliver. Don’t travel for the moment,” said Ubial.

Last Saturday, the Singaporean government announced its first case of the mosquito-borne illness involving a 47-year-old Malaysian woman residing in Singapore.

Just a day later, 40 more cases were reported in the city-state involving people with no travel history in Zika-affected areas recently.

At the local front, Ubial said they are now on alert towards travellers coming from Singapore, who could have been afflicted with the Zika virus.

“We are testing only symptomatic travellers from endemic countries. So now, Singapore flights will be among those to be closely monitored for Zika symptoms,” said the official.

Once found to have symptoms of the virus, she said the individuals will be sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City.

On the other hand, Ubial said those without symptoms but came from Singapore will just be asked to contact the DOH once symptoms appear inside two weeks after their arrival. (HDT/Sunnex)
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