World

Malaysia raises alert for Zika virus

Following cases in S'pore, Johor checkpoints to have paramedics on standby, give out fliers

Malaysia's Health Ministry said it has increased its monitoring at the two main entry points to Johor following reports of confirmed Zika cases in Singapore.

In a statement yesterday, health director general Noor Hisham Abdullah pointed to reports about a 47-year-old Malaysian woman in Singapore who was diagnosed with the virus.

Singapore authorities have since confirmed 41 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus.

Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia was vulnerable to the infection because Aedes mosquitoes could carry the virus.

He said: "Therefore, we have increased the monitoring and have placed paramedics at the two main entrances to ensure that the necessary measures can be carried out on visitors who show signs of being infected by the Zika virus."

FLIERS

In addition to surveillance, fliers with information on the spread of Zika are being handed out at the entry points, reported The Sun Daily.

He added that since February, the health ministry has scanned more than two million visitors entering Malaysia at land, sea and air entry points from countries affected by Zika and found no cases of infection so far, The Star reported.

He said: "This includes land entry points for our neighbouring countries.

"For visitors coming from countries that have the Zika virus, a Health Alert card will be given as a guide detailing what should be done if the person exhibits signs and symptoms of Zika.

"We have also examined over 784 blood samples of those showing an active possibility of the infection and found that the results were all negative for the virus."

Dr Noor Hisham further urged health practitioners who come across possible signs of the virus to report them immediately, adding that the public should also be vigilant.

"Singapore has confirmed that the virus was locally contracted as the woman had not visited any of the affected countries," he said.

"We are in close contact with the Singapore Health Ministry to better understand this situation and get updated information on the local spread of the virus. This is to ensure that all prevention and containment methods can be carried out."

S'PORE'S SUICIDE CASES IN 2015

2,680

Calls to the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) hotline from those aged 10 to 19

33.3%

Of such calls were classified as calls with suicide risk. Another 36.3 per cent were crisis calls where the caller may be going through a highly stressful life event or situation which requires emotional support. These are individuals who are susceptible to developing suicide risk.

27

Reported cases of suicide among those aged 10 to 19

13

Reported cases in 2014

Source: Samaritans of Singapore

HELPLINES

Samaritans of Singapore 
(24-hour hotline): 1800-221-4444

Tinkle Friend: 1800-2744-788

Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019

Care Corner Counselling Centre 
(in Mandarin): 1800-3535-800

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