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Zika virus in Singapore prompts advisory on workplace measures

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Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed 41 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infection, which includes 36 foreign workers who tested positive at the construction site at 60 Sims Drive.

Given that the Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito vector, MOH has not ruled out further community transmission, and is continuing to carry out Zika testing in the Aljunied Crescent/ Sims Drive area.

It has also worked with the contractors at a construction site at Sims Drive to screen workers who were reported by a general practitioner to have symptoms of fever, rash and conjunctivitis.

To minimise the risk of further spread of Zika in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has issued an advisory on workplace measures employers must consider.

1. Employers should encourage staff to self-monitor for symptoms of Zika, such as: fever, skin rashes, joint and muscle pains, headaches, and red eyes.

2. Symptomatic individuals who have returned from an affected country in the past two weeks, or live/work in the vicinity of Aljunied Crescent / Sims Drive must seek medical attention immediately – which employers should allow staff to do promptly.

3. Employers should advise employees to protect themselves from mosquito bites by: using mosquito repellent; wearing long, covered clothing; and sleeping under mosquito nets or in rooms with wire-mesh screens or air-conditioned rooms.

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4. Employers should particularly ensure that pregnant employees take strict precautions against mosquito bites and seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms of Zika such as fever and rash.

5. As the Zika virus is spread by infected mosquitoes, employers should take immediate steps to prevent mosquito breeding in their workplaces.

If your organisation is undertaking any further steps to check the spread of the virus, please let us know.

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