Image: The Malay Mail
Malaysia just recorded its first case of the Zika infection after a 58-year-old woman in Bandar Botanic in Klang was suspected to have been infected this Wednesday. She and her husband visited their daughter in Singapore on August 19 and returned to Malaysia on August 21, 2016.
As the Singapore Zika cases rise up to 56 at just one construction site, Malaysia has started border screening individuals that come into the country. Global health officials have stepped up defensive measures against Zika over the weekend as the virus continued to expand its reach at such a quick pace.
Malaysia’s Health Ministry mentioned in The New Paper that it has increased its monitoring at two main entry points to Johor following reports of confirmed Zika cases all across Singapore. The epidemic in the city-state of Singapore, a hub for Southeast Asia, has alarmed its neighbors. Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam (and now Malayisa) have each seen a case of Zika and have been concerned that the contagion might be spreading locally but have not been able to confirm whether that is the case.
Below is the press statement from the Health Ministry:
THE FIRST ZIKA VIRUS CASE IN MALAYSIA 1ST SEPTEMBER 2016
On 29th of August 2016, the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) has made an announcement advising those who have been to any country with reported cases of Zika and experiencing the symptoms of this infection are expected to come forward for a medical attention. Following this, the MOH have received reports of a patient suspected with Zika virus infection on the 31st August, 2016. This patient is a 58 year-old woman residing in Bandar Botanic, Klang, Selangor and is the mother of a female confirmed with Zika infection in Singapore. The patient, together with her husband had visited their daughter in Singapore on 19th August 2016 and returned to Malaysia on 21st August 2016.
The patient started exhibiting symptom of rashes on 28th August, and she sought medical attention at a private clinic in Klang on the 30th August 2016. As the patient had travelling history to Singapore and her daughter was confirmed to have Zika virus infection on 30th August 2016, the Private General Practitioner had diagnosed her as “suspected case of Zika”. On the same day, the patient was refered to Sungai Buloh Hospital and the result of the urine PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test on 31st August 2016 was found positive for Zika virus. However, the patient’s blood test result is still pending.
The source of infection is suspected to occur in Singapore since the patient had started experiencing signs of Zika infection on the same day with her daughter in Singapore. The patient’s husband and family members who live in the same house with her, has yet to show any symptoms of Zika infection. For the period from 21st - 28th August 2016 when the patient was returning from Singapore, she had visited several areas in the district of Klang and Kuala Lumpur.
Based on the findings from the investigation, the MOH has already started vector control activities in the residential area of the case and other places that the patient had visited. Control activities carried out include eliminating Aedes breeding sites, larvaciding and fogging. In addition, close contacts to the patient will be examined whether they have any fever or other Zika symptoms.
Information obtained from the Ministry of Health Singapore, revealed that there are 5 Malaysians residing and working in Singapore that has also been confirmed to be infected with Zika virus. For the period from 27th to 31st August 2016, there has been 115 confirmed Zika cases reported in Singapore. Due to the rapid spread of Zika virus infection, Aedes monitoring and preventive activities are continuously performed and intensified in all states, especially in the state of Johor and Selangor.
Malaysians, must focus on cleaning the Aedes breeding places, protect themselves from Aedes mosquito bites and seek early medical attention if they have signs such as fever, rash and conjunctivitis. From the first reported case of Zika, we can conclude that it is rather easy to get infected by the virus when visiting places that has outbreak, including Singapore. The MOH once again call upon any individuals whom had visited countries that reported Zika infection, to come forward to seek immediate medical attention if they are experiencing any symptoms as mentioned above. Proactive action from the community can help stop the spread of Zika virus in Malaysia. No Aedes: No Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya.
YB DATUK SERI DR. S.SUBRAMANIAM
MINISTER OF HEALTH MALAYSIA
1st September 2016
The majority of people infected with the virus do not show indications, it is possible that some transmission may already have taken place before this case of Zika was alerted.
Authorities also urged members of the public to take immediate steps to evade mosquito breeding in homes by doing the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout every alternate day, and safeguard themselves from mosquito bites by applying insect repellant often. Individuals should seek medical attention if they are unwell, particularly with symptoms such as fever and rash. They should also notify their doctors of the location of their residence and workplace to warn others from future infections.