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Singapore confirms two new cases of Zika virus

An aedes aegypti mosquito is shown on a leaf.

(Reuters)

SINGAPORE – Singapore has confirmed two cases of locally-transmitted infections of the Zika virus in the north-eastern part of the city, the National Environment Agency said on Wednesday, describing it as the first Zika cluster of 2017.

The viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, has spread to more than 60 countries and regions since an outbreak was identified in Brazil in 2015, raising alarm about the possibility of the cause microcephaly as the Guillain-Barré syndrome.

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Singapore was already reported six cases in the first 12 weeks of this year, the website of the agency. Last year, more than 400 people became infected with the virus, after the discovery of the first case in August.

“In both cases, the residents in the area and of the same household,” the agency said in a statement.

“Residents and stakeholders are urged to maintain vigilance and continue to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.”

There is no preventive treatment against Zika, but pharmaceutical companies are rushing to develop a vaccine.

Although generally a mild disease, the virus is a particular risk for pregnant women because it can lead to microcephaly – a severe birth defect in which babies are born with an abnormally small head and underdeveloped brain.

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