Zika: Malaysian health ministry issues alert after Singapore reports virus

The director-general of health ministry, Noor Hisham Abdullah, says preventive measures are being taken.

The Malaysian health ministry has alerted people across the country after Singapore said a case of imported Zika virus has been diagnosed in the country.

The ministry officials said they are in contact with their Singapore counterparts to exchange the latest developments on the Zika virus.

The director-general of health ministry, Noor Hisham Abdullah, said preventive measures are being taken.

"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," Hisham said in a statement.

He said that without early prevention, Malaysia will also be at risk of the spread of the virus.

The ministry increased its monitoring at several immigration checkpoints. Hisham also said that a total of 472 samples were tested by the National Public Health Laboratory and the Institute of Medical Research as of Thursday. But the virus was not detected in the country.

Apart from this, the ministry had also tested five Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases and one microcephaly case. But the results were negative for the Zika virus.

The public has been urged to carry out preventive measures such as ensuring clean environment; getting rid of Aedes breeding grounds and using mosquito repellant. They have been also warned with the symptoms of the disease. Zika virus causes mild fever, spots on the body and joint pains, but it does not cause death.

Bernama reports that it is associated with microcephaly where children are born with small heads and neurological symptoms of the Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

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