Malaysians in Singapore urged to take preventive measures against Zika

An Aedes Aegypti mosquito is photographed in a laboratory of control of epidemiological vectors in San Salvador, in this Jan 27, 2016, file photo.
An Aedes Aegypti mosquito is photographed in a laboratory of control of epidemiological vectors in San Salvador, in this Jan 27, 2016, file photo.PHOTO: AFP

SEGAMAT (The Star/Asia News Network) - 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 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 on Sunday (May 15) 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.