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Work Together To Keep Zika At Bay

05 Feb 2016

The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites from Aedes aegypti. Photo credits: AP

The Zika virus epidemic has undoubtedly become one of the most talked-about topics within the public health sphere, with the World Health Organization (WHO) justifiably declaring it a global health emergency as coordinated global efforts are critically needed in research, vaccine development and international action. 

With Singapore drawing large numbers of overseas visitors and frequent international travel among Singaporeans, a local case of Zika may only be a matter of time, 

The method of hospitalising suspected patients proves effective only when we can identify cases in the early stages of infection. However, with most cases presenting fairly mild symptoms, the obvious complementary strategy would be to control the Aedes mosquito population, says Professor Chia Kee Seng, Dean of the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

However, we face challenges such as weather conditions which are favourable for mosquito breeding, and sustainable behavioural change has not occurred despite widely publicised campaigns to discourage the formation of mosquito breeding sites. Based on methods developed by the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, we may see close to 30,000 cases this year. 

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