GEORGE TOWN, Sept 5 – The Health Ministry is conducting regular checks at all international entry points, including at the borders in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Perlis due to the Zika outbreaks in neighbouring Singapore and Thailand. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the checks included for body temperature, which could be the red flag for Zika viral infection.
In light of the Zika threat, he urged the public to destroy all Aedes mosquito breeding grounds in their compounds as Aedes mosquitoes are the cause of Zika and dengue. He stressed that Zika was more dangerous than dengue as it could be transmitted sexually, passed from mother to child and had long-term effects, especially on newborn babies.
“Besides the efforts taken by the ministry such as continuous fogging and free testing at 12 main hospitals and five public health laboratories, I urge the people to help us to combat the Aedes at their homes,” he said at a press conference in George Town here today.
He also advised pregnant mothers who are worried about contracting Zika to go for medical examination to safeguard their health. On another matter, Hilmi said the ministry through the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau, would take stern action against unregistered homeopathy vaccine sellers.
“Don’t sell just for the sake of business as we don’t know if the medicines had gone through clinical testing or not. There might be side-effects that we don’t know about,” he said. It was reported that 10 homeopathy premises were found to be selling fake vaccines which are claimed to be able to cure dangerous illnesses afflicting babies.
The Health Ministry has been spending more than RM11 million yearly to provide 13 types of free vaccines guaranteed as ‘halal’ for the Muslim community. The highest rate of vaccine refusal in the country was recorded in Kedah. According to Hilmi, parents who refused to vaccinate their children were being cruel as their children were exposed to many types of deadly virus or bacteria such as the bacteria that caused diphtheria. — Bernama