Taiwan issues travel alert for Singapore amid Zika threat

Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Monday issued a travel alert for Singapore based on the latest reports on the transmission of the Zika virus there.

As of Aug. 28, the number of confirmed infections of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Singapore was 41, the CDC said, citing data provided by that country's health authorities.

The cases were all confined to the Aljunied Crescent and Sims Drive areas in the city state, with 34 of them having recovered and seven still hospitalized, the CDC said.

However, it is feared the virus will spread from those two clusters as some of the patients have been to Khatib Camp and Sembawang Drive recently, the CDC said.

As a result, the CDC issued a Level 2 travel alert for Singapore, with pregnant women and women intending to become pregnant advised to take particular caution.

Under the CDC's three-tier system, a Level 1 travel warning urges vigilance and health precautions, while Level 2 calls for a high degree of caution and strong protective measures, and Level 3 advises against travel to or from a specified destination.

The CDC now has a Level 2 travel alert in place for 58 countries and regions where Zika virus infections have been reported, including Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, countries with a heavy flow of people to and from Taiwan.

Under the Level 2 warning, if visits to such areas are necessary, travelers are advised to follow the "2226 Formula" after leaving Zika-affected areas to prevent transmission of the disease, the CDC said.

The formula specifies that female travelers should postpone becoming pregnant for two months after their return, regardless of whether they develop suspected Zika symptoms.

For male travelers, even if they do not develop suspected Zika symptoms, they are urged to avoid sex or to use condoms for two months after their return from an affected area. If they develop suspected Zika symptoms, they are urged to avoid sex or to use condoms for six months after their return.

Source: Focus Taiwan