Malaysia still Zika-free so far

FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR New Straits Times 12 Feb 16;

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is still free of the Zika virus so far, said the Health Ministry today.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this was based on the monitoring activities and blood sample testing conducted by the ministry.

“National Public Health Laboratory and Institute of Medical Research have conducted ongoing lab surveillance work from June last year to Feb 10.

“A total of 393 blood samples were collected from patients who showed dengue symptoms and were tested for the Zika virus.

So far, all test results were negative.” he said in a statement, today.

He said the ministry had taken proactive measures to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

This includes issuing Zika Alert and administrative instructions for monitoring and management of Zika virus infections to all state health departments, agencies and other professional bodies that represent private medical practitioners.

The ministry is also monitoring international entry points in Malaysia.

Tourists who arrive from countries affected by Zika virus will be given health alert cards.

Necessary action will be taken if the tourist shows signs of Zika symptoms after returning from the affected countries within a week.

According to World Health Organisation, 33 countries had reported Zika virus cases from Jan 2014 to Feb 5.

Among the countries are Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Venezuela and Maldives.

There is currently no vaccine available for the virus and no specific medicine can cure the disease.

Noor Hisham also advised the public to take precautionary measures and ensure their surroundings are always clean and free of Aedes breeding sites.

Those who show symptoms of the virus such as fever, body ache, rashes and conjunctivitis within seven days after returning from Zika-affected countries should immediately seek treatment at a clinic or hospital.


Health cards, monitoring of travellers from Zika countries
MICHELLE TAM The Star 12 Feb 16;

PETALING JAYA: Travellers from Zika-hit countries will be given a health alert card, with the Health Ministry closely screening international arrival gates to prevent the spread of the virus to Malaysia.

In a statement Friday, ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah stated that a “Zika Alert and Administrative Orders to Monitor and Manage the Zika Virus” guide was also distributed to all state health departments, agencies and professional bodies that represent private medical practitioners to prevent occurrences of the Zika virus.

From Jun 2015 to Feb 10 this year, 393 blood samples from patients who tested negative for dengue antigen NS1, were also tested in an ongoing lab surveillance by the National Public Health Laboratory (MKAK) and the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) to detect the Zika virus.

So far, all test results have been negative.

According to the World Health Organisation, 33 countries have reported Zika virus infections from Jan 2014 to Feb 5 this year.

At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent infections and no specific medicine to treat the Zika disease.

The public is encouraged to take preventive steps, especially by ensuring their surroundings are clean and free of Aedes breeding spots.

Each individual is advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites, via the use of long-sleeved tops, long pants, and repellent.

Those who experience any symptoms or signs of Zika infection such as a fever, body aches, rashes and conjunctivitis within a week of returning from any Zika-hit countries, should get immediate treatment at the clinic or hospital.

For further information, any questions on the Zika virus can be forwarded to the Health Ministry’s Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre at 03-88810700 or the nearest district health office.

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