Mosquitoes : the deadly carrier

Mosquito borne viruses seem to be the next possible scare for Mankind. Not the birds or swines but a tiny insect capable of breeding relentlessly and prying into the living spaces of even the most affluent of places.

From malaria and dengue to now Zika virus, they are not to be taken lightly. Malaysia’s fight against dengue is not bearing fruits with the rate of dengue infections at its highest. Measures at fogging suspect areas appear toothless as basic measures of hygiene are not practiced and often ignored. Heavy penalties for harbouring Aedes breeding grounds have been instituted but enforcement is suspect.

Now another potential treat is the Zika virus reaching our shores. Much is still not known about this virus, now suspected of causing birth defects in infected mothers. It has reached Hawaii recently and it may be a matter of time before we see the first case in Malaysia. Malaysia needs to utilise this lead time to understand more about this virus and institute measures to ensure containment of cases.

We shall see.

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Pregnant women advised not to travel to Brazil: Health Ministry

PETALING JAYA: Pregnant women are advised not travel to Brazil due to increased cases of infants being born with abnormally small heads, a syndrome known as microcephaly.

Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said it is likely caused by the Zika virus although it has not been conclusively proven, and urged pregnant women to avoid travelling to Brazil.

“As a precaution, the Health Ministry would like to advise pregnant women, especially those in the first trimester, to delay their travels to Brazil until the real cause of microcephaly cases which is associated with the Zika virus can be identified,” Noor Hisham said in a statement today.

He also advised other travellers to the region to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites such as wearing long-sleeved clothing and using mosquito repellent.

The Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquito bites and shows similar symptoms to dengue fever such as fever, rashes, muscle aches, headaches, and aching behind the eyes.

People who are travelling to the region are also advised to avoid outdoor activities during pre-dawn and after dusk hours when the mosquitoes are most active.

Noor Hisham said the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest statistics show that the virus has been detected in 17 South American countries including Brazil, Barbados, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, and others.

He also noted that the Brazilian Health Ministry detected an increase in microcephaly cases as of Dec 30 but the cause has yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, Noor Hisham said the Ministry had also stepped up monitoring efforts but has not detected any trace of the virus in 247 samples gathered between mid-2015 and the first week of 2016.

Meanwhile, in Kuala Terengganu, a woman whose six-year-old daughter Wah Ying Er died from dengue last Sunday is now worrying over the condition of her other daughter, who is also down with dengue.

Housewife Oing Kam Niu, 34, said Wah Ying Qi, 11, who is the third of five siblings, was still undergoing treatment at Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital (HSNZ).

“Ying Qi looks like she has recovered, but there could be a relapse. I pray for her to recover fully and allowed to go home,” she told Bernama today.

Oing said all her five children were admitted to the hospital for dengue, but the other three had been discharged.

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