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Zika virus already in our midst

KUALA LUMPUR: Confirmation of a second case of Zika in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, indicates the virus is already present in the country, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

He said the patient had not been to any country where Zika is prevalent, suggesting the man contracted the disease locally.

"He was infected after being bitten by a mosquito which was carrying the virus within our country," he said in a Facebook posting.

"It suggests there are other infected people in the community who are potential sources of infection."

The ministry was in the process of tracing the movement of the man over the last few weeks, Subramaniam said, adding that vector control activities in these areas would be intensified.

He said the man had pre-morbid conditions, including heart failure and chronic renal disease, which were life-threatening.

"Any form of viraemia in such a situation could have tilted the balance and caused his demise," Subramaniam said.

Meanwhile in KLANG, blood tests conducted on three close family members of the country's first reported Zika victim in Bandar Botanic found them to be free of the virus, said Klang Municipal Council (MPK) director of health Azmi Muji.

He said the tests were conducted at Sungai Buloh Hospital, where the Zika victim, who is a woman, is hospitalised and reported to be in stable condition.

"The blood samples were taken from the victim's husband, son and sister," he told reporters at Ambang Botanik here today.

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

On Saturday, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah confirmed the victim in Sabah was the first locally transmitted case of Zika.

The 61-year-old man died at 5.30pm yesterday due to complications from his underlying heart condition. He also had other co-morbidities such as high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, kidney stones and gout.

In a related development, Azmi said MPK had conducted fogging at the woman's home, as well as destroyed potential mosquito breeding grounds and set up a trapping device to estimate the number of mosquitoes in the area.

"This morning, we held gotong royong, involving residents of Taman Ambang Botanik, to clear the neighbourhood of mosquito breeding grounds," he added.

In KOTA KINABALU, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman has asked Kota Kinabalu City Hall and all local authorities to mount a massive gotong royong in reaction to the Zika case in Sabah.

He urged elected representatives and community leaders to be proactive, conduct awareness campaigns on mosquito related diseases and engage in gotong royong to keep their areas from becoming potential mosquito breeding grounds.

"This matter is not to be taken lightly. We all must play our roles and keep our surroundings clean," he said in a statement today.

In ALOR STAR, Kedah Environment, Chinese, Indian and Siamese Community Affairs and Unity Committee chairman Datuk Dr Leong Yong Kong said anti-Aedes awareness campaigns would be intensified.

He said a meeting would be held with the relevant quarters to discuss measures to prevent the spread of Zika.

"I have asked state health director Datuk Dr Norhizan Ismail for a state-level meeting to be held soon to discuss the matter."

Source: The Sun Daily (http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1959887)
Date: 4 September 2016, Sunday

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