Thursday, September 08, 2016

Singapore: MOH/NEA Zika Update - Sept 8th


We've the latest update on Singapore's Zika surveillance (9 new cases) along with a follow up on last week's preliminary genetic analysis that suggested Singapore's virus was likely imported from Asia, and not the Americas.

First today's MOH/NEA report.

Joint MOH-NEA statement (8 September)
1.        As of 12pm, 8 September, MOH has confirmed nine new cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infection in Singapore. Of these,
  • Four cases are linked to the Aljunied Crescent/ Sims Drive/ Kallang Way/ Paya Lebar Way cluster;
  • One case is linked to the Bishan Street 12 cluster; and
  • One case is linked to the Elite Terrace cluster.
2.        There is a potential new cluster involving two previously reported cases and a new case today. One of the previously unlinked cases in the cluster was reported on 7 September and his work address was verified today. They all work in the Ubi Crescent area. The other two cases have no known links to any existing cluster.
Vector Control Update
3.        NEA is continuing with vector control operations and outreach efforts in the cluster areas at Aljunied Crescent / Sims Drive / Paya Lebar Way / Kallang Way / Circuit Road / Geylang East Central / Geylang East Avenue 1; Bedok North Avenue 2 / Bedok North Avenue 3 / Bedok North Street 3; Joo Seng Road; Bishan Street 12 and Elite Terrace. As of 7 September 2016, a total of 166 breeding habitats have been found and destroyed in the cluster areas, of which 108 are from homes, and 58 from outdoor areas.
4.        NEA will also be carrying out vector control operations and outreach efforts at Ubi Crescent.
5.        Members of the public can obtain updated information on Zika and details on current clusters at NEA’s website: and
6.        Aligned to our dengue control approach, NEA will continue to work with stakeholders and the community to reduce mosquito breeding, as vector control is key to reducing the transmission of Zika in the community.
As described previously in this blog (see Emerging Microbes & Infect: Growing Genetic Diversity Of Zika Viruses In Latin America), the Asian lineage of the Zika virus has evolved into two sub-lineages, which researchers have recently dubbed the Oceanian and Latin American lineages.

This genetic divergence, which occurred over the past decade in the South Pacific, helps researchers pin down the likely origin of individual Zika viruses. 

While Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has yet to post an analysis on their website,  multiple media sources overnight are carrying reports on their investigation.

This from Newschannel Asia.

SINGAPORE: The Zika virus strains found in the two locally transmitted cases from the Sims Drive-Aljunied Crescent cluster were not recently imported from South America. Rather, these strains have sequences similar to those which have been circulating in Southeast Asia since the 1960s, before they spread to French Polynesia in 2013 and subsequently to Brazil in 2015. 

This analysis was according to the sequencing study conducted by the Ministry of Health's National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) and A*STAR's Bioinformatics Institute, with the findings revealed on Thursday (Sep 8).

“What we have demonstrated that is there are enough differences at the gene level to show that (the strain) is not imported from South America”, said Dr Raymond Lin, head of the NPHL, at a press briefing.

(Continue . . .)

Dr. Lin goes on to state that both lineages are very similar, and there is no evidence to suggest whether the Asia strain is more likely - or less likely - to produce congenital defects than the strain circulating in the Americas.

If and when A*Star posts a full report, I'll either link it here or post a new blog.

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