Updated 09:53 PM EST, Mon, Feb 24, 2020

Malaysian Government Tells Citizens to Avoid Visiting South America Due to Zika Virus

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The Malaysian government has advised its citizens not to visit South American countries amid the spread of the Zika virus in the region.

Malaysia Kini said Health Minister Dr. S Subramaniam gave out the advisory to prevent the virus from entering and spreading in the country.

Subramaniam also claimed that this move will also challenge the health ministry to have screenings at the entry points of the country.

"The mosquito-borne disease does not have any clear symptoms such as dengue and those infected with the virus looks like a normal healthy person and will certainly not going to seek medical treatment," the health minister added in the Malaysia Kini report.

It is also expected that a comprehensive list of guidelines will be released by the government in the coming days in order to control and prevent the virus.

Subramaniam noted that they will also find and destroy breeding places of Zika and dengue-carrying Aedes mosquitoes.

A similar The Malaysian Insider report noted that they are taking these efforts since the country already has the mosquitoes, which also carry the dengue virus.

"Malaysia will face a challenge of the virus spreading very fast if it is found in the country, as we already have the mosquitoes -- the same one that causes dengue fever," the health minister added.

He also claimed that the travel advisories of the country will not only warn travellers about going to Zika-infected countries but also educate them that they should immediately inform the ministry if they are coming from a country where the virus is active.

"It is a challenge to us as the individual carrying the virus shows no symptoms," he noted.

The New York Times said that as of December 2015, the virus has been transmitted to about 45 countries in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Pacific Islands, based on a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some of the infected countries in South America with reported Zika virus cases include Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and El Salvador.

A CBS News report said that the mosquito-borne disease has been associated with giving birth to babies with very small heads and undeveloped brains -- a condition dubbed as microcephaly.

Last year, more than 3,5000 women in Brazil had babies born with the said condition.

The World Health Organization has also declared the virus as "an emergency health issue" in the international realm, as per The Rakyat Post.

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