PUTRAJAYA: With the first Zika case confirmed, the number of infections is expected to increase and both the authorities and the public will have to work together to prevent its spread.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said they had intensified “anti-Aedes activities”, including in Bandar Botanic in Klang, where the first victim – a 58-year-old woman – stayed.
“Dealing with the Zika virus is done the same way we deal with dengue, which is by controlling the spread of Aedes mosquitoes.
“But to do so, we need the support of all Malaysians. The ministry and local authorities cannot do it alone. The Aedes mosquito breeds in houses, so everyone needs to play a role in preventing the spread of the virus.
“If the vector control people come to your residential area to conduct fogging, allow them to enter your house. Very often, we come across cases where people will not allow this,” said Dr Subramaniam at a press conference here.
Besides focusing on cleaning Aedes breeding places, the minister said Malaysians must protect themselves from Aedes mosquito bites through the use of repellents or by wearing long-sleeved clothing, particularly at dawn and dusk.
His predecessor at the ministry, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, said Malaysia was more than capable of handling the Zika infection.
Having served as minister during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, Liow said they had successfully contained the spread of that.
“We have a very good surveillance system and can detect those infected at an early stage,” he said during a meet-and-greet session hosted by the International Malaysian Society of Maritime Law.
As Transport Minister, Liow said his ministry would support the Health Ministry in stepping up screening at all entry points into country, especially at international airports and the Causeway.
A new virus can spread like wildfire, he said, and must be nipped in the bud.
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