PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has issued a health alert to all public and private health facilities on the Zika virus following a World Health Organisation alarm that the virus is spreading explosively.

Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said the ministry viewed the global situation with great concern since the likelihood that the mosquito-borne disease would spread here is high.

"Malaysia has Aedes mosquitoes to carry the disease and the mosquito density here is very high," he said in a statement today, adding that Malaysians were at risk with no immunity to the disease as this country never had the Zika virus.

Although the Zika virus is not lethal, and usually causes light fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, with symptoms usually lasting under a week, the danger lies with a type of deformity that can affect babies of carriers.

It was reported that the Zika disease was linked to a foetal deformation known as microcephaly, in which infants are born with abnormally small heads.

Dr Lokman said pregnant Malaysian women were advised against travelling to countries with Zika outbreak.

He said all of the 288 samples analysed so far were tested negative for the Zika virus and the samples were taken from those tested negative for dengue.

The ministry will keep a close tab at all medical facilities for any cases showing Zika symptoms especially by those who had travelled to the countries with the virus outbreak, Dr Lokman added.

He also urged the public to take similar precautions as what is being done for Dengue to protect themselves from the Zika virus.

Source from NST news

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