Zika is spreading its wings and flying far beyond Latin America. With international travel so prevalent nowadays, it would clearly only be a matter of time before the virus took root all over the world. Singapore is the latest country to experience outbreaks of Zika, with reports confirming that 150 people have been infected with the virus. 
Singapore has now been added to the list of countries that the United States has issued a travel warning. The warning is especially pertinent for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next couple of years, as the virus has the potential to cause permanent disabilities for fetuses.
Although scientists are not sure of the extent of which Zika can affect fetuses, it is known that the virus is linked to microcephaly. Microcephaly is a disorder, which can also be congenital, leading to a child having a smaller brain and head than that of their peers. The issues are further reaching than just a small head, however, as microcephaly can severely delay development, speech, and even impair the child’s ability to walk. Some children with microcephaly function on the level of an infant for their entire lives.
Within Singapore, 2 pregnant women have tested positive for Zika.
Currently, Singapore is the only Asian country with active transmission of the virus. It has, however, been confirmed that a Malaysian woman has tested positive for the virus after visiting Singapore. She is the first case in the country.
Previously in Singapore, there was a cluster of the Zika virus at Tagore Avenue, Yishun Street 81 and Harvey Crescent. However, as of September 1, 31 new cases were observed that were not part of this original group. 
Singapore is issuing free Zika tests and urges any pregnant women who feel they have symptoms to have it done as soon as possible. Symptoms of Zika are often mild and mimic the flu. Some people do not experience symptoms at all.
According to the NHS, or National Health Service in the UK, the following are the most common symptoms of the disease:
- Itching all over the body
- Joint pain (with possible swelling, mainly in the smaller joints of the hands and feet)
- Muscle pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Lower back pain
- Pain behind the eyes
The disease is spread through mosquitoes and sexual contact with this who have been previously infected.
 Straits Times
Featured image source: ABC News / (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)