Malaysians in Singapore urged to take preventive measures against Zika

YEE XIANG YUN The Star 16 May 16;

SEGAMAT: Hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who travel daily to Singapore to work have been urged to take extra preventive measures in view of the first Zika case reported in the republic.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam advised those who commute to the republic to wear long sleeves and apply adequate mosquito repellents to protect themselves from the Aedes mosquitoes.

“While it would take two to three weeks for the Singapore authorities to establish where the patient contracted the disease, there’s nothing wrong with early preventive measures,” he told reporters yesterday after welcoming Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar who made a stop at Taman Yayasan here as part of the royal family’s Kembara Mahkota Johor expedition to every district in the state.

Dr Subramaniam added that the ministry had also instructed the Public Health Department in Johor Baru to step up efforts to fight Aedes mosquitoes, which was the vector for both dengue and Zika.

He said the thousands of daily commuters could put Johor at risk due to the state’s geographical location but the risk could be minimised with proper mitigation efforts.

Those showing symptoms like fever and rashes should seek immediate medical help, he added.

The first imported case of the Zika virus infection was reported in Singapore on Friday.

The patient was a 48-year-old male Singapore permanent resident who had travelled to Sao Paulo, Brazil, from March 27 to May 7.

The patient developed fever and rash from Tuesday and was admitted to Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital on Thursday and was isolated.

Zika: Johor health dept told to step up surveillance
The Star 15 May 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Johor Baru Health Department has been asked to increase surveillance at the country's entry points in the state as a precautionary measure following the Zika virus case reported in Singapore last Friday.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said as a preventive measure, cooperation had also been stepped up with the Indonesian and Thai authorities to share information about the spread of the virus.

"However, Malaysia still free and safe from the Zika virus," he told a press conference in conjunction with World Health Day and Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya-level Nutrition Month, here Sunday.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore on Friday announced that the republic became the second country in Southeast Asia after Vietnam reported its first case of the Zika virus.

The victim was a 48-year-old man, a Singapore permanent resident who had travelled to Sao Paulo, Brazil from March 27 to May 7, 2016.
Dr Hilmi said as the Zika virus is spread by the Aedes Egypti mosquito which is the same vector for dengue fever, prevention efforts need to be taken since the mosquitoes already exist in this country.

"Referring to the health ministry's statistics, dengue cases which are carried by the Aedes mosquito, decreased from 3,500 cases in the first week of this year to only 1,500 cases last week.

"The decline was helped by the El Nino phenomenon which swept the country, causing the breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes to be affected," he said. - Bernama

Zika: No restriction on Malaysians visiting Singapore
The Star 17 May 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Although there has been a reported case of Zika virus infection in Singapore, the Health Ministry has not issued any restriction on Malaysians going to the country.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, however, advised Malaysians who wished to visit the country to always be alert, especially if faced with symptoms like fever.

He said the Government has conducted screening tests on 90,000 individuals who have entered Malaysian through Singapore, apart from giving health reminders at all entry points into the country.

“The Malaysian and Singaporean governments are always cooperative when doing screening tests on individuals who have visited Latin America countries such as Brazil, Venezuela and others, especially within the period of last week,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Monday.

Last Friday, Zika was detected in Singapore when one of its permanent residents, who had visited Sao Paolo, Brazil from March 27-May 7, tested positive with the virus. – Bernama

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