The National Environment Agency’s (NEA) has alerted the general public that a fresh case of Zika virus has been recorded in Singapore.
According to an update published on the NEA website, the case, which was diagnosed and reported to authorities on Jan.18, is the first of its kind in 2018 since the disease was thought to be eradicated from the country in September 2017.
NEA said the case appears to be an isolated one as there are no identified Zika clusters currently in the country.
The first case of locally transmitted Zika was first reported in August 2016, and 450 people were confirmed to have been infected by the end of the year.
The virus, which is spread by an infected Aedes mosquito, has been linked with neurological diseases and birth defects such as microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with a smaller head due to abnormalities in brain development.
A widespread epidemic of the Zika virus that originated in Brazil and swept through South and North America prompted the WHO to declare it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in 2016 once its effects were discovered.
A joint sequencing study conducted in 2016 by the health ministry and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research found that the Zika strains circulating in Singapore were not imported from South America.
Invariably the virus in fact was similar to those which have been percolating in Southeast Asia since the 1960s.
However, whether this strain of the virus has the potential to wreak more or less harm than the South American strain is still unknown.
Zika virus is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus.
Its name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947.