Zika: Other countries

Malaysia reports Zika case; woman had visited Singapore

Dr Subramaniam yesterday said it is not practical for Malaysia to issue a travel advisory for Singapore due to the large number of people crossing the border daily.
Dr Subramaniam yesterday said it is not practical for Malaysia to issue a travel advisory for Singapore due to the large number of people crossing the border daily.PHOTO; EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Her daughter living in Paya Lebar has also tested positive for virus

Malaysia yesterday confirmed its first case of Zika since the outbreak began in South America last year, after a woman tested positive for the virus following her return from Singapore, its Health Ministry said.

The woman, a 58-year-old financial consultant, travelled to Singapore on Aug 19 to visit her daughter, who lives in Paya Lebar. The daughter also tested positive for Zika, and is one of six Malaysians living in Singapore who have been infected.

The announcement came just days after Malaysian Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said the risk of Zika was "imminent".

Singapore has 151 cases of Zika infections, of which at least 57 involve foreigners living and working in the city-state. Of these, at least 23 are from China, 15 from India, 10 from Bangladesh and six from Malaysia. One person each from Indonesia, Myanmar and Taiwan have also tested positive.

"All had mild illness. Most have recovered while the rest are recovering well," said a Singapore Health Ministry spokesman yesterday.

Singapore has 151 cases of Zika infections, of which at least 57 involve foreigners living and working in the city-state. Of these, at least 23 are from China, 15 from India, 10 from Bangladesh and six from Malaysia. One person each from Indonesia, Myanmar and Taiwan have also tested positive.

The infected Malaysian woman, who lives in Bandar Botanic in Klang, had travelled to Singapore by bus with her husband, who tested negative for Zika. She began to develop symptoms a week after her three-day trip and tested positive for the virus on Aug 31.

The woman is recovering in Sungai Buloh Hospital and is expected to be discharged within two days.

Dr Subramaniam said the authorities have stepped up fogging in the woman's neighbourhood.

Malaysia's Health Ministry is also tracking the movements of the other infected Malaysians in Singapore.

As a preventive measure, the local authorities in Johor are spraying buses entering Malaysia with insecticide. The ministry has advised car owners to do the same and is coming up with guidelines.

According to the United States' Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Malaysia's last known Zika case was in September 2014, when a German tourist who visited Sabah was confirmed to have the virus after she returned home.

Dr Subramaniam said the government will not issue a travel advisory due to the large number of people crossing the border daily.

 

"It is not possible and impractical. That's why we are asking people to take precautions against mosquito bites - this is more practical advice," he said.

Indonesia yesterday advised travellers who must go to Singapore to take precautions.

The government has confirmed only one case of the mosquito- borne virus in Indonesia.

The virus was detected in Jambi in Sumatra based on specimens taken during a dengue fever outbreak between December 2014 and April last year. The case, involving a 27-year-old man, was reported in February.

•Additional reporting by Arlina Ashad

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2016, with the headline 'Malaysia reports Zika case; woman had visited S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe