Due to increasing number of confirmed cases of Zika virus infection in Singapore it has become necessary to know how one can save himself from this infectious and fatal disease in this country. Before discussing the ways to protect you from this health problem you must have brief information about it so that you can easily save yourself from it.
What is the Zika virus?
The infection of Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of Aedes mosquito which is also considered as the carrier of the chikungunya and dengue viruses. Normally Zika is a mild health problem as the symptoms of its infection is like that of dengue or chikungunya. The fever caused by this infection also includes body aches, headache and rashes on the skin. But these symptoms may not become obvious in some cases. But its infection can cause microcephaly, a rare neurological condition causing birth defects in newborn babies, to the unborn child of pregnant women, if they are infected with Zika virus.
Symptoms of Zika virus infection
The main symptoms for Zika infection include rashes, fever, muscle pain, headaches, inflammation in eyes or conjunctivitis and joint pains. But these symptoms may not appear entirely or prominently in several infected people. Normally these symptoms develop within 3-12 days after the bite of Aedes mosquito and remain visible for 4-7 days.
You should monitor your health if you live in an area or travelled to a place or country having the cases of Zika virus infection and consult your health care provider if you are having rashes on your skin and fever since few days. People, especially pregnant women, living in such infected areas are advices to monitor their health and seek medical help if they are not feeling well along with the symptoms of this infectious health problem. You should also consult the doctor, if you suspect Zika infection, even if no symptoms have developed, to protect yourself as soon as possible.
Cure for Zika virus infection
Till date no vaccine or cure is available to prevent this infection. All the treatments used to treat it are based on the symptoms developed on the victim’s body. Infected people are advised to drink lots of fluid, take complete rest and use common remedies to treat the symptoms.
Some other quick facts about Zika virus infection
– The Aedes mosquito that spreads Zika virus infection also carries the viruses of dengue and chikungunya
– No particular anti-viral medicine or vaccine has been developed till date to treat and control this infection effectively.
– All the cases with Zika infection found in various areas of Singapore could not be confirmed how they got this infection. They were unable to confirm that whether they have recently travelled to Zika infected areas or the infection has been transmitted locally to them. Most of the cases of Zika infection were found in the areas where people working in construction projects live.
– This infection can result in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads and various other developmental issues of severe kind due to microcephaly, a neurological disorder, having strong bonding with Zika virus. Some of such babies can die due to this virus infection. Microcephaly infects unborn babies when their mothers get infected with Zika virus during their pregnancy.
– In most cases mild symptoms of Zika virus including fever, joint and muscle pain, headaches conjunctivitis and rashes are observed which are similar to that of chikungunya and dengue.
How to protect yourself from Zika virus?
If you, especially pregnant women, are planning to travel abroad then you should confirm about the condition of Zika infection there as it can increase the risk of your infection. But if you are already travelling in such countries then you should wear long clothing to cover your entire body, sleep under mosquito net or apply insect repellent before sleeping.
Pregnant women or women hoping to be pregnant in the near future should avoid travelling to places infected with Zika virus. If you already have symptoms of Zika then you should consult with a doctor to get tested or delay pregnancy.
Zika virus can be transmitted by both men and women during sexual activity, including oral sex, if either of them have its symptoms. They should always use dental dams or condoms during sexual intercourse to prevent the spreading of this infection.
People living in the infected areas of Singapore should also closely monitor their health and visit their doctor instantly after noticing its signs. Moreover, they should sleep under mosquito nets or in air conditioned rooms or apply mosquito repellent along with wearing long clothing to cover their body fully.
Prevention of Aedes mosquito breeding is another way to prevent the infection of Zika virus. The distinctive black and white stripes on the body of Aedes mosquito help in identifying them easily. You can also protect yourself from mosquito bites by regularly applying insect repellent.
You can perform the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout in just 10 minute to prevent the breeding of Aedes mosquito in and around your home by:
– Changing water in the bowls and vases on every alternate day
– Removing water from the plates under the flower pots every alternate day
– Emptying all the storage containers used for storing water
– Covering the bamboo pole holders when not in use
– Putting BTI insecticide after clearing the blockages in the roof gutters every month
– Efforts of Singapore government and NEA to control spreading of Zika virus
– Ministry of Health, Singapore will remain in contact with the confirmed cases of Zika virus infection.
– All the suspicious cases and pending cases for confirmation of the blood test results will be isolated.
– All the hospitals and polyclinics including GPs have been advised to MOH or NEA immediately as soon as a patient with positive symptoms of Zika infection contacts them.
In order to prevent the spreading of Zika virus infection NEA Singapore is planning to control the population of Aedes mosquitoes by:
– Inspecting all the living and worship areas,
– Conducting certain treatments essentially to kill adult mosquitoes like fogging on the outdoor areas and very slight misting of the premises
– Flushing and oiling the drains frequently to control breeding of the infectious mosquito
– Educating about Zika virus and distributing insect repellent among people