Workers from India and Bangladesh come down with chikungunya disease
( dpa ) - Six foreign workers from India and Bangladesh have caught chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease similar to dengue fever, health officials said on Friday.
To curb its spread, environmental and health teams are checking everyone who lives or works within a 150-metre radius of the cases.
Dr Lyn James, director of the health ministry's communicable disease division, told The Straits Times all infected individuals will be tracked down "to prevent the disease from taking a foothold in Singapore."
Like dengue, the chikungunya virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito. Symptoms are similar including fever, joint pains, chills and nausea.
No treatment is available, the report said. The disease usually runs its course but has claimed lives in India and Reunion Island.
Five of the workers had not been out of the country in the past month. The ministry was notified on Monday by a doctor that a 27-year-old Bangladesh man had tested positive for the virus.
Conditions in Singapore including the presence of the Aedes mosquito and a population with no immunity to this disease are ripe for chikungunya to become endemic, said Associate Professor Leo Yee Sin, clinical director of the Communicable Disease Centre.
The National Environment Agency has stepped up its search-and destroy operations for mosquitoes that were initiated amid a dengue outbreak last year.