Singapore

Pregnant woman returns to Germany to avoid Zika

A pregnant woman left on a plane to Germany last night.

The reason for her haste?

The German, who did not wish to be named, is 28 weeks pregnant and does not want to take any chances with the Zika virus here.

The 42-year-old director of an Austrian jewellery company lives in Joo Chiat, near the cluster in Sims Drive and Aljunied Crescent that has seen cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infections.

Since the authorities announced the first case on Saturday, the number of cases has jumped to 82.

The German woman, who came to Singapore in 2012, told The New Paper that it was "very scary" that it takes a while before the virus can be detected in the body and that only 20 per cent of those infected show symptoms.

MAJOR CONCERN

Although Zika does not usually result in death, it is a major concern for expectant mothers because if they are infected with the virus, they are at risk of delivering babies with microcephaly - a rare condition where the baby is born with a small head and this can lead to incomplete brain development and other issues.

The pregnant woman said it was particularly worrying that there was little information about Zika and that studies done on the virus seem incomplete or partly contradict each other.

She said: "If you check for precautions (against Zika), they tell you to put on repellent, buy a mosquito net, wear long sleeves and stay in air-conditioned rooms.

"No vaccination is available and even if (the virus is) detected, there is nothing you can do. Unless you are below 24 weeks pregnant and decide to abort.

"All those indicators are not reassuring at all."

She said she was not content with just taking the usual precautions against Zika and she did not want to take any chances with her baby, which is due in mid-November.

So on Monday night, she and her partner made the decision to fly back to Germany.

She plans to continue working from Germany and will deliver her baby there.

RISK

"I don't want to panic whenever I've been bitten by a mosquito (in Singapore).

"So my partner and I decided that even if there was only a 1 per cent risk of harm to our baby, we didn't want to take that risk," she said.

GermanyZika VirusSingapore