( dpa )- Health officials are no longer hopeful of stamping out the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus soon amid reluctance of some "Little India" area occupants to obtain free blood tests and complaints about removing rain gutters, authorities said on Sunday
Eleven people including a Singaporean have been diagnosed with the disease. The others are foreign workers from India and Bangladesh.
Nearly 1,800 people have been screened for the virus since the first case surfaced in the area popular with Indians two weeks ago. While the mosquito-carrying dengue fever is endemic in the city-state, the outbreak is the first time chikungunya was not imported from elsewhere.
Associate Professor Leo Yee Sin, appointed health officer, has been granted the legal power to quarantine anyone suspected of being infected, search premises if an outbreak is suspected, and seize samples of any substances for tests without a warrant.
Spread by the Aedes mosquito, the name " chikungunya " comes from Africa's Swahili language. Symptoms are similar to to dengue fever including joint pains, chills and nausea. There is no cure, but the disease is rarely fatal.
The National Environmental Agency has checked destroyed 63 breeding grounds and fogged the area repeatedly.
A check by The Sunday Times found some are not keen about the free tests when health experts inform them they are in a risk zone for an infectious disease.
Shop owner KS Oh, 42, said the test was not necessary because he keeps his premises clean.
"I haven't been bitten; my shop is very clean," he was quoted as saying. "Besides, we're busy; there's no time."
So far 1,795 people have been tested. The National Environment Agency is extending tests to people living beyond the precinct.
Rain gutters which are in poor condition and collet water where mosquitoes breed were also ordered to be removed.
Owners who do not comply with removal orders could face fines of up to 20,000 Singapore dollars (14,000 US dollars).
"It's so troublesome, YA Tan, a 73-year-old woman, told the newspaper . " I must pay for a contractor. If my neighbours remove, I will. If they don't I won't."
Travellers to regions where the disease has been reported such as Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia were advised to wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers outdoors and use insect repellent.