An Indonesian woman has been infected with the Zika virus in Singapore, in the first case of the disease affecting an Indonesian national, the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir said the information was communicated by the Singapore Ministry of Health to the Indonesian Embassy. The woman, whose name and age were not disclosed by officials, is currently receiving treatment at a hospital in Singapore.
Arrmanatha told journalists that the patient had tested positive for Zika. However, out of concern for her privacy, Singapore’s Health Ministry had only stated that she was Indonesian and female, he said.
The ministry had yet to receive information on whether the woman was pregnant, which could be dangerous as the disease can cause microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with small heads. Arrmanatha said further details would be immediately sought by the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore.
He added that the ministry was coordinating closely with Indonesia’s Health Ministry over a plan to issue health advice for Indonesian nationals in Singapore, in an effort to raise awareness so that people could protect themselves from the virus.
The Health Ministry’s disease control director general, Muhammad Subuh, said on Monday that immigration officials would start requiring people arriving from Singapore to fill in health alert cards to assist with early detection of the virus and to limit its spread. (dmr)