PAP MINISTER ONG YE KUNG: ZIKA IS A MILD ILLNESS

Many residents are concerned about the spread of the Zika virus. After speaking to many learned colleagues and experts, I think these are the 5 keys things to know. I wrote it as a layman.

First, Zika spread through the zebra-striped, Aedes mosquitoes. They tend to bite in the day, especially during dawn and dusk. During the hottest part of the day, they will hide in shady areas. Aedes breed in clean stagnant water, including in our homes, or flower pots outside. In the Yishun part of my constituency, we have been encountering black mosquitoes which bred in the underground drain. These are Culex mosquitoes. They do not transmit Zika.

Second, Zika is a mild illness. The symptoms are fever, rashes, joint aches, headaches and red eyes. Patients tend to recover after a few days.

Third, the major concern is on our pregnant ladies, because Zika may affect unborn children very badly, a condition called microcephaly.

Fourth, for pregnant ladies who are concerned and wondering if you should be tested for Zika infection, these are the MOH guidance. Go for Zika test if you have symptoms similar to Zika, or your partner has been tested Zika positive. No need to go for the test if you do not have any Zika symptoms. This is one of many viruses that we can be exposed to and can affect unborn children, and like all medical tests, there can be false alarms and cause unnecessary anxiety. The best is to consult your gynecologist, who knows what to do and will monitor the health of your unborn child.

Finally, the best way to fight Zika is to prevent mosquito breeding. Fogging by National Environment Agency is one way. But more importantly, all of us need to do our part now to remove all stagnant water, to eradicate Aedes mosquito breeding, so as to protect our pregnant and the unborn.

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