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Singapore confirms 26 more local transmission Zika cases, tally reaches 215

A worker fogs the drains in the common areas of a public housing estate at an area where locally transmitted Zika cases were discovered in Singapore August 31, 2016. Photograph: (Reuters)

Singapore, Malaysia Sep 04, 2016, 06.50 AM (IST)
Singapore confirmed 26 more cases of locally transmitted Zika infections on Saturday, bringing the tally to 215, the health ministry and National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a joint statement. 

Of the 26 new cases, 24 were linked to a cluster in the Aljunied district where the country's first locally-transmitted cases were reported. While two cases have no known links to any existing cluster, the statement said.

Meanwhile, a week after Singapore reported its first case of locally transmitted Zika infection, local scientists say they have completed genetic sequencing of the virus.

"The analysis found that the virus belongs to the Asian lineage and likely evolved from the strain that was already circulating in Southeast Asia. The virus from these two patients was not imported from South America," the statement said. 

Brazil hit hard by Zika 

Detected in about 67 countries and territories, the Aedes mosquito-borne Zika causes only mild symptoms for most people such as fever and a rash.

It was first identified in Uganda in 1947 and was unknown in the Americas until 2014. The worst-affected regions include large parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, with Brazil the hardest hit so far. 

But pregnant women who catch it can give birth to babies with microcephaly, a deformation marked by abnormally small brains and heads.

(WION with inputs from AFP, Reuters) 
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