IPOH: The Health Ministry views seriously the problem of microcephaly in babies linked to Zika infection in pregnant women after Thailand confirmed last week of its first known cases.
On Friday, Thai health authorities said microcephaly in two babies was caused by the Zika virus, in what is believed to be South-East Asia’s first confirmed cases linking the sickness and the birth defect.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the ministry would increase its control and monitoring efforts to prevent the spread of the disease in Malaysia.
"The Thai authorities have informed us that they consider the disease to be related to the Zika virus. This is the first serious (microcephaly) case, so we will be increasing the efforts for control and monitoring."
He said this to reporters after the ceremony to hand over the letter of agreement for the construction of new buildings for Sekolah Kebangsaan Jenis Tamil (SKJT) Gunung Rapat here Monday, which was also attended by Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan.
Dr Subramaniam said the cooperation of all quarters was needed to prevent the spread of the Zika virus, especially in destroying mosquito breeding spots.
The minister also advised women, especially those wanting to get pregnant, to get medical advice and to go for check-ups first.
According to Channel NewsAsia, the preliminary results of studies conducted in Brazil connected the Zika infection in pregnant women with microcephaly in their babies - a birth defect marked by small head size - leading to serious developmental problems.
On the Rotavirus infection and acute gastroenteritis (AGE) cases at the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort water theme park, Dr Subramaniam said the ministry would take follow-up actions, including imposing fine on the management of the park if it was found to have been negligent.
However, he said the ministry had yet to receive the results of urine sample analysis conducted by the Sungai Buloh National Public Health Laboratory.
The water theme park was closed for 14 days from last Thursday to allow cleaning works to be carried out after several AGE and Rotavirus cases were reported among patrons at the park. - Bernama