Health officials in Singapore have detected more than two dozen new cases of Zika virus as concerns are growing about the spread of the brain-debilitating infection in the Southeast Asian country.
Singapore's Ministry of Health and National Environment Agency confirmed in a joint statement on Sunday that 27 new cases were detected, bringing the total number of those affected with Zika in the country to 242.
The statement said one of the new cases was suspicious and had no known links to any existing cluster of the disease in Singapore.
"There is a potential new cluster involving one previously reported case and a new case today," the statement said, adding that 25 cases were linked to the initial outbreak area and the remaining one was linked to a potential new cluster.
Zika is a serious viral disease which can cause microcephaly in the newborns if contracted by pregnant women. The condition is a severe birth defect in which the head and brain of the baby are undersized. Other brain abnormalities in children have also been reported while in adults Zika infection has been linked to neurological disorders, including a rare syndrome known as Guillain-Barre.
Uganda was the first country to report the virus in 1947 but it came to light in the Americas in 2014. The link between Zika and microcephaly first became known last fall in Brazil, a country where more than 1,800 cases of microcephaly have been recorded.
Singapore officials had said on Saturday that an analysis carried out on two patients proved that the virus belongs to the Asian lineage and was not imported from South America.
Malaysia, which neighbors Singapore, also reported on Saturday the first case of locally transmitted Zika infection in a 61-year-old man.