Zika virus

Malaysia's first Zika case confirmed in woman who visited Singapore

The 58-year-old woman visited Singapore to help care for her daughter, who had herself contracted Zika

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 September, 2016, 12:06pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 September, 2016, 12:06pm

Malaysian authorities confirmed the country’s first cases of Zika virus on Thursday, saying that a 58-year old woman who had visited Singapore had become infected with the virus.

Addressing reporters, Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said the woman, from Klang on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, had visited the city-state on August 19 to help care for her daughter there, who had herself contracted Zika.

She returned three days later and on Sunday began developing a rash. She was tested for the virus on Monday, and was confirmed positive.

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“The source of infection is suspected to occur in Singapore, since the patient started experiencing signs of Zika on the same day with her daughter in Singapore,” Subramaniam said.

“The patient’s husband and family members who lived in the same house with her have yet to show any symptoms of Zika infection,” he added.

Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitos, which are also responsible for spreading dengue fever, a disease that is more common in tropical Malaysia.

Patients normally exhibit symptoms such as mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and headache. The virus is also known to cause microcephaly, a condition where babies are born with small heads, or their heads stop growing after birth.

Singapore has seen a spike in new cases of Zika in recent weeks, with the number of people infected in the city-state so far jumping to 115 on Wednesday.