My private thoughts concerning Zika in Sg

September 5, 2016

If you tell most Singaporeans we may all have to learn to live with Zika – they will shout out – you siaow alredi ah!

I guess that sort of response is quite understandable and even natural. As since Zika is new to most Singaporeans….that is really how they can only be expected to respond.

But what the general public do not seem to understand is like ebola or even the bubonic plague, Zika is not an Andromeda strain. That’s to say it’s not a new mosquito borne plague, it has a long entrenched history in Africa especially along the mid band latitudinal interior stretching across Mozambique to Uganda and right along the West African coast line of Sierra Leone to Guinea Baso. Over there Zika is as common as malaria.

I am not try to scare anyone. I am just thinking aloud. But for me while this infestation is still at it’s infancy every attempt to should be made to eradicate it before it establishes a beachhead in Singapore. As once Zika is embedded it’s like copper sulphate, it is very difficult if not impossible to eradicate.

Currently the authorities in Singapore are doing whatever they can…but at some point in their calculations. They have to consider aerial spraying of Naled….if the situation gets worse.

To me all this attempts to eradicate mosquitoes by using hand held equipment is not effective. It’s very labor intensive and it’s coverage is very limited.

What is required is specialized aircraft that is able to spray a grid footprint in a systematic manner to knock out this virus. To me the decision is cold and rational.

Many decisions makers will dilly dally on this. As they are likely to weigh public concern etc etc – as it certainly comes across as overkill….but for me, there is no other way.

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‘People who say Zika will not change the way Singaporeans work, live and play are not realistic. As it is a very scary disease to not only for pregnant women, but to all – to exacerbate matters Singapore already has one of the lowest total fertility rates in the world….so this will only bump up the cost and risk associated with child rearing….so it doesn’t pay for one to whistle in the dark and take this matter lightly.

But even if you are a man and you come down with Zika, it may not be life threatening. As in some cases it’s effects are mild and one may not even be aware that one is infected, but nonetheless, one becomes a carrier and it can certainly be a health inconvenience that you would rather live without.

In the short term. I don’t a see magic bullet to eradicate mosquitoes. There are many niffty solutions in the pipeline ranging from GM mosquitoes that can interfere with the life cycle of the Aedes to lasers that can zap mosquitoes like Star Wars….but all these are still a very long way away from fruition.

What is immediately real and present is the threat of Zika and how it might even be a perennial seasonal threat. If it escalates to that level – then our way of life will go thru a radical change. Already it is going thru a change….parks which were once filled are now empty….some food courts have been transformed into ghost towns and many people are preferring to stay in hermetically sealed malls.

So how can these people say there will be no effect or impact? That is not realistic.

It is conceivable if Zika becomes a perennial seasonal threat. Many things will change….architecture will go thru a radical change. Inaccessible gutters will be done away with. Building regulators will scrutinize new building designs to mitigate mosquito breeding spots. Parks will have to redesigned to prioritize drainage etc etc.

The problem is even if all that can be accomplished with the highest degree of quality in Singapore…..by that time, it will be too late as it will find it’s way up north and when it’s there…it will be a way of life.’

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