By Sharaf Momen
Singapore, an Asian country and a neighbour to Malaysia has consequently felt the threat of diseases spread through mosquitoes. They act as perfect mediums for dispersion of malaria, dengue, whose threat has been introduced just a few months ago, and without rest, now comes the threat of the Zika Virus.
The Zika Virus is suitable for Aedes mosquitoes, which are a common breed within Singapore, which happened to be a worry of large health organisations within Singapore and Malaysia since early times. We were so blind to Singapore’s perfect security and beauty that the tiny threats lurking within the dark were actually morphing into the monster under our beds. Under our very eyes.
Rumours (as people love to make them for their lack of hobbies) claim that Joseph Schooling, the Olympics representative of Singapore (which, by the way, shouldn’t have happened) has brought “home” the Zika virus from Texas, however, rumours are rumours and though they are ridiculous, it is quite fun to point out people have the gift of ability to generate them. Actually, the reasons as to their sudden appearance is unknown, however, the first recorded cases were among the Aljunied area in Singapore, where the patient had severe fever, red eyes, and other symptoms of Zika. Similar symptoms began to have ripple effects, washing over surrounding areas like Paya Lebar and the far east areas of Singapore (along the green line on the MRT, for your visual mind).
The panic that has drawn towards its current climax is mostly due to how difficult it is to determine if you have Zika or not. Only 1 out of 5 Zika patients show symptoms and furthermore, it takes 6 to 7 days with active collection of urine and blood samples to determine the presence of the virus in their systems of those that do not show symptoms! Symptoms, if there be any, include red eyes, unexplained rashes, muscle pain, fever and so on, and last for up to a maximum of 7 days.
Although it may not affect your health significantly, it does pose a threat to our genetic structure, which constitutes to this invisible spread of a dangerous disease. Firstly, we can start of saying it is not contagious, however, it can be passed around as a sexually transmitted disease. This puts more gravity on the next point: Pregnancy issues. Though research is still limited and proceeding currently, it has shown that the children of pregnant Zika patients have abnormalities, such as microcephaly, which is the shrinkage of the head of the baby, simultaneously with the enlargement of their brain. Although the chances are low as 1/10 (which in my opinion are high, but Singaporean media needs to maintain the calm of the citizens), it may still serve to create horrible social implications in the future and trigger an increase in abortion rates, which can now be justified in the perspective of not only parents, but their children’s pained perspective of their dire medical situation.
The Zika virus only started and the ripple effects will turn into tsunamis, so it is important that you students must partake in keeping yourself and others safe. Purchase mosquito repellents and patches to lower chance of disease transmission. I know it is tedious, dumb and uncool, but if it saves your lives and the lives you could bring into this world, then your opinion is invalid. This is a serious situation, and though the effects are invisible, so are UV rays. They still hurt.