First Zika case suspected in Malaysia

Singapore Published: Sep 01, 2016, 11:25 AM(IST)

The Aedes mosquito-borne Zika causes only mild symptoms such as fever and a rash but is a serious risk for pregnant women. Photograph:( Getty )

Malaysia reported its first suspected case of Zika today.

A 58-year-old woman suspected of having contracted the mosquito-borne disease after she visited her daughter in neighbouring Singapore where more than 100 cases have been confirmed.

The victim had shown signs of a rash and fever one week after her return from Singapore on August 21, Reuters reported Malaysian health minister Subramaniam Sathasivam as saying.

The daughter has been confirmed as having the Zika virus, the health ministry said in a statement.

Full confirmation via blood tests on the woman is pending.

"The source of infection is suspected to have occurred in Singapore," the statement said.

"We are carrying out control measures against aedes mosquitoes near the woman's home to prevent the spread of the virus," the health minister told a news conference.

The Aedes mosquito-borne Zika causes only mild symptoms such as fever and a rash but is a serious risk for pregnant women.

A pregnant woman with Zika can give birth to babies with microcephaly, a birth defect marked by abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.

Singapore authorities say 115 people have now tested positive for the virus.

"All had mild illness. Most have recovered while the rest are recovering well,” the ministry said in a statement.

"We must work and plan on the basis that there is Zika transmission in other parts of Singapore and extend our vector control efforts beyond the current affected areas," Singapore's health minister Gan Kim Yong said in a statement yesterday, Reuters reported.

Twenty-one Chinese nationals, 13 Indians, six Bangladeshis, and an Indonesian are also among the 115 cases of Zika reported in Singapore, foreign officials said.

The United States, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, Britain and Indonesia have issued travel advisories, warning pregnant women to avoid travel to Singapore. Singapore's health ministry expects more Zika cases to emerge.

Despite the rise in Zika cases, a spokesman for the Singapore Grand Prix told AFP yesterday the Formula One race will go on as scheduled from September 16-18.

Zika has been detected in 67 countries and territories including Brazil.

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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