PETALING JAYA: Stop throwing rubbish, clean your homes and surrounding areas, and protect yourself from mosquito bites. That’s the only way Malaysians can prevent a high number of Zika cases and microcephaly, said a paediatrician.
Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital’s department head and senior consultant paediatrician Datuk Dr Amar Singh said he had not come across any microcephaly cases related to Zika in newborn babies but with new Zika cases entering the country, it was possible for cases to emerge in about a year’s time.
“We have a window period now. If we do something now, the spread will be less and we can lower the number of babies affected,” he said.
Microcephaly is an abnormal smallness of the head in babies, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development.
Dr Amar said Malaysians must change their dirty habits.
“It’s time the authorities come down hard on people who throw rubbish indiscriminately,” he said, referring to rubbish ending up containing rainwater and becoming mosquito breeding grounds.
He said South Korea and Taiwan had cleaned up their countries and Malaysia should do likewise.
People should also reduce the risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes by protecting themselves and their homes by using mosquito repellents and nets, he said.
Pregnant women and men involved in sexual relationships, too, must take precautions as Zika can be transmitted from mother to foetus and through sex, he said.
Universiti Malaya virologist Prof Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar said Zika was difficult to monitor and those working and travelling to Singapore daily and those returning from countries with Zika cases need to be very responsible and protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes.
“Do all you can to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by using repellent, and wear light-coloured clothing especially in the morning or evening so you don’t spread to others, especially if your wife is pregnant,” he said.
Dr Sazaly said while people worried about Zika, they should also be concerned about dengue as it kills.
“It’s the rainy season now and there are lots of mosquito breeding grounds,” he said.
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