Zika outbreak

Expect more Zika cases, says Malaysian health minister

Malaysia's Health Minister, Dr Subramaniam Sathasivam speaks to the media during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia on Sept 1, 2016.
Malaysia's Health Minister, Dr Subramaniam Sathasivam speaks to the media during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia on Sept 1, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

PETALING JAYA • New Zika cases will continue to emerge in Malaysia, said Health Minister S. Subramaniam.

"The confirmation of the second case of Zika in Kota Kinabalu suggests that the virus is already present within our communities.

"This patient has not been to any other country where a large number of cases had been reported.

"This means that this person contracted the disease locally," he said in a Facebook post yesterday.

The 61-year-old patient, who tested positive for Zika locally, died last Saturday from underlying heart-related complications.

Datuk Seri Subramaniam said the ministry was still unsure where the virus might have originated.

However, he said, it was possible that there were other infected people in the community who were potential sources of infection.

"We are in the process of tracing the movement of this last patient over the past few weeks. We will intensify vector control activities in these areas," he said.

Dr Subramaniam said the Health Ministry was of the view that the patient's death was not directly related to Zika. He said this was because the patient had other medical conditions, including heart problems and chronic renal disease, which were life-threatening.

Separately, blood tests conducted on the husband, son and sister of Malaysia's first known imported case of Zika found them negative for the virus, Klang Municipal Council's director of health Azmi Muji said yesterday.

The 58-year-old woman was confirmed to have been infected with the virus upon returning from Singapore on Aug 21.

Mr Azmi said the tests were conducted at Sungai Buloh Hospital, where the woman is hospitalised and reported to be in stable condition.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2016, with the headline 'Expect more Zika cases, says Malaysian health minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe