The Zika virus has reached our shores.
A woman, identified as a 58-year-old residing in Bandar Botanic, Klang, Selangor, has been confirmed as Malaysia’s first victim of the Zika virus. The patient exhibited symptoms of the virus on 28th August (Sunday), after returning to the country from Singapore on 19th August.
The patient, who travelled with her husband, was visiting her daughter in the neighbouring country. However, rashes appeared on her body around 2 weeks after her return, and she immediately visited a private clinic in Klang. The Private General Practitioner diagnosed her as “suspected case of Zika” as the patient’s daughter was confirmed to be infected with Zika virus on 30th August 2016.
She was then referred to the Sungai Buloh Hospital and underwent a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) urine test, which tested positive. However, her husband and family members who reside under the same roof has not shown any symptoms of the infection.
After the patient’s return from Singapore, she visited a few places in Klang and Kuala Lumpur. The Health Ministry has assured the public that the department has “already started vector control activities in the residential area of the case and other places that the patient had visited”.
A statement from the Ministry further explained:
“Control activities carried out include eliminating Aedes breeding sites, larvaciding and fogging. In addition, close contacts to the patient will be examined whether they have any fever or other Zika symptoms.”
The Minster of Health, YB Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam also advised Malaysians to seek medical attention if they exhibit signs of fever, rash, and conjunctivitis, especially to individuals whom had visited countries that are affected by the Zika infection, such as Singapore, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, and more.
The full statement by the Ministry of Health is as below:
“On 29th of August 2016, the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) has made an announcement advising those who have been to any country with reported cases of Zika and experiencing the symptoms of this infection are expected to come forward for a medical attention. Following this, the MOH have received report of a patient suspected with Zika virus infection on the 31st August, 2016. This patient is a 58 years-old woman residing in Bandar Botanic, Klang, Selangor and is the mother of a female confirmed with Zika infection in Singapore. The patient, together with her husband had visited their daughter in Singapore on 19th August 2016 and returned to Malaysia on 21st August 2016.
The patient started exhibiting symptom of rash on 28th August, and she sought medical attention at a private clinic in Klang on the 30th August 2016. As the patient had traveling history to Singapore and her daughter was confirmed to have Zika virus infection on 30th August 2016, the Private General Practitioner had diagnosed her as “suspected case of Zika”. On the same day, the patient was refered to Sungai Buloh Hospital and the result of the urine PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test on 31st August 2016 was found positive for Zika virus. However, the patient’s blood test result is still pending.
The source of infection is suspected to occur in Singapore since the patient had started experiencing signs of Zika infection on the same day with her daughter in Singapore. The patient’s husband and family members who lived in the same house with her, has yet to show any symptoms of Zika infection. For the period from 21st – 28th August 2016 when the patient was returning from Singapore, she had visited several areas in the district of Klang and Kuala Lumpur.
Based on the findings from the investigation, the MOH has already started vector control activities in the residential area of the case and other places that the patient had visited. Control activities carried out include eliminating Aedes breeding sites, larvaciding and fogging. In addition, close contacts to the patient will be examined whether they have any fever or other Zika symptoms.
Information obtained from the Ministry of Health Singapore, revealed that there are 5 Malaysians residing and working in Singapore that has also been confirmed to be infected with Zika virus. For the period from 27th to 31st August 2016, there has been 115 confirmed Zika cases reported in Singapore. Due to the rapid spread of Zika virus infection, Aedes monitoring and preventive activities are continuously performed and intensified in all states, especially in the state of Johor and Selangor.
Malaysians, must focus on cleaning the Aedes breeding places, protect themselves from Aedes mosquito bites and seek early medical attention if they have signs such as fever, rash and conjunctivitis. From the first reported case of Zika, we can conclude that it is rather easy to get infected by the virus when visiting places that has outbreak, including Singapore. The MOH once again call upon any individuals whom had visited countries that reported Zika infection, to come forward to seek immediate medical attention if they are experiencing any symptom as mentioned above. Proactive action from the community can help stop the spread of Zika virus in Malaysia. No Aedes: No Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya.
YB DATUK SERI DR. S.SUBRAMANIAM
MINISTER OF HEALTH MALAYSIA
1st September 2016″
In February, The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the rise in birth defects linked to the Zika virus outbreak a “public health emergency”. Subsequently, Singapore reported its first case of Zika virus in May.
For more info on the virus, visit this link.