PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is still free of the Zika virus so far, said the Health Ministry today.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this was based on the monitoring activities and blood sample testing conducted by the ministry.
“National Public Health Laboratory and Institute of Medical Research have conducted ongoing lab surveillance work from June last year to Feb 10.
“A total of 393 blood samples were collected from patients who showed dengue symptoms and were tested for the Zika virus. So far, all test results were negative.” he said in a statement, today.
He said the ministry had taken proactive measures to curb the spread of the virus in the country. This includes issuing Zika Alert and administrative instructions for monitoring and management of Zika virus infections to all state health departments, agencies and other professional bodies that represent private medical practitioners.
The ministry is also monitoring international entry points in Malaysia. Tourists who arrive from countries affected by Zika virus will be given health alert cards.
Necessary action will be taken if the tourist shows signs of Zika symptoms after returning from the affected countries within a week.
According to World Health Organisation, 33 countries had reported Zika virus cases from Jan 2014 to Feb 5.
Among the countries are Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Venezuela and Maldives.
There is currently no vaccine available for the virus and no specific medicine can cure the disease.
Noor Hisham also advised the public to take precautionary measures and ensure their surroundings are always clean and free of Aedes breeding sites.
Those who show symptoms of the virus such as fever, body ache, rashes and conjunctivitis within seven days after returning from Zika-affected countries should immediately seek treatment at a clinic or hospital.