CDC adds Zika-hit Singapore to interim travel guidance list

CDC adds Zika-hit Singapore to interim travel guidance list

Images of brain damage caused by Zika virus. (Reuters)

This is regardless of whether they have been to Zika-affected areas."
Singapore (ANTARA News) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it had added Singapore to its interim travel guidance list, following reports of Zika infections in the country.

The number of confirmed cases of Zika virus in Singapore rose to 82 on Tuesday, with some of the latest infections detected beyond the area of the initial outbreak.

The CDC recommended that travelers to Singapore protect themselves from mosquito bites and warned that sexual transmission of Zika virus is also possible, according to a statement on its website (http://bit.ly/2bYjP94).

Confirmed cases of Zika virus in Singapore rose to 82 on Tuesday, as the United States joined a growing list of countries warning pregnant women or those trying to get pregnant to avoid travel to the city-state.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has caused explosive outbreaks in the Americas and the Caribbean since late last year, poses a particular risk to pregnant women because it can cause microcephaly, a severe birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.

On Tuesday, the United States warned pregnant women not to travel to Singapore, joining Australia, Taiwan and South Korea.

The warnings followed news that Zika transmission appears to be occurring outside of the original cluster, with at least five of 26 new cases confirmed late on Tuesday detected in the Aljunied area in the southeast of Singapore, the health ministry and National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a joint statement.

Singapore has advised pregnant women to take a free Zika test if they showed any symptoms or if their partners tested positive. "This is regardless of whether they have been to Zika-affected areas," health officials said in a statement.

The outbreak and advisories come as the tourism industry in one of the worlds busiest travel hubs already faces weak global economic growth. Singapores Tourism Board said it was premature to consider any impact on the sector, adding it remained a "safe travel destination".

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