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Health ministry in constant contact with Singapore to prevent Zika virus

KUALA LUMPUR: The health ministry has been in constant contact with its Singapore counterpart to exchange latest developments on the Zika virus to take preventive measures.

Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the government had zoomed in on one ‘import’ case of the virus which was reported in the republic yesterday.

“The Singapore Health Ministry has confirmed a case involving a permanent resident who was infected with the Zika virus after visiting Brazil, and that the patient has never visited Malaysia,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Noor Hisham said without early prevention, Malaysia was also at risk if its people visited the affected nation.

He said a total of 472 samples were tested by the National Public Health Laboratory and the Institute of Medical Research, but the virus was not detected in the country as of May 12.

Apart from that, the ministry had tested five Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases and one microcephaly case but the results were negative for the Zika virus, he said, adding that the ministry had also enhanced its monitoring at several immigration checkpoints.

He also urged the public to carry out preventive measures such as ensuring clean environment; getting rid of Aedes breeding grounds; wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants; as well as the use of mosquito repellant.

According to latest information released by the World Health Organisation, 58 countries were reported to have been affected by the virus from January 2014 until May 11.

Zika virus causes mild fever, spots on the body and joint pains but it does not cause death.

It is associated with microcephaly where children are born with small head or brain and neurological symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.-nst

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