KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Wednesday reported its first case of a pregnant woman with Zika—a resident of a Malaysian state bordering Singapore where authorities are grappling with scores of cases.
The 27-year-old woman in the southern state of Johor is the third case in Malaysia of the virus, which can result in infected pregnant women giving birth to deformed babies.
The virus causes infant microcephaly, a condition marked by abnormally small brains and heads.
“The woman is expecting her first child and is three to four months’ pregnant,” Malaysia’s health minister S. Subramaniam said in a statement on the ministry’s Facebook page.
Malaysia on Saturday reported its first locally transmitted Zika case, a 61-year-old man who was already in fragile health due to other conditions and subsequently died of heart-related complications.
Subramaniam said it was not clear how and where the pregnant woman contracted the virus.
But his statement said she had visited Singapore six months ago and her husband regularly makes trips to the city-state.
Zika, which is spread mainly by the Aedes mosquito, has been detected in 67 countries and territories including hard-hit Brazil.
Malaysia already has struggled in recent years to control the spread of Aedes-borne dengue fever and fears of a Zika outbreak are growing.
It has stepped up screening of travellers from abroad, particularly Singapore, and of fogging with mosquito-killing chemicals. Members of the public have been urged to eliminate mosquito breeding sites such as stagnant water. AFP