Norway’s public health institute (Folkehelseinstitutt) has warned pregnant Norwegian women against traveling to Singapore, where authorities are fighting an outbreak of the zika virus that can cause serious deformities in babies.
Singapore became the first country in Asia to confirm an outbreak last week, and suspect the virus has been transmitted by mosquitos. More than 80 cases of infection had been confirmed by the weekend.
It’s almost ironic that Singapore would be hit hard, since it has long taken mosquito abatement seriously. It’s illegal, for example, for Singapore residents to have potted plants on balconies that can have standing water that would attract mosquitos.
Health authorities in Norway are watching the situation in Singapore closely, not least because of the large expatriate community of Norwegians living in Singapore, many of whom are working in the shipping, oil, gas and finance sectors. Pregnant women who have lived in Singapore since June 1 are being advised to have frequent medical checks. Those traveling back to Singapore are being advised to be vigilant with mosquito repellant.