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MOH Doesn't Think It's Necessary For You To Know The Areas Visited By Zika Patient

"It may cause panic."

Cover image via AP/Vincent Thian via Channel NewsAsia

Zika is in Malaysia. But you already know that.

What you don't know is the names and information of the areas that were visited by Malaysia's first imported case of Zika patient.

And it is something you don't need to know, according to the Health Ministry's Disease Control Division Director Dr. Chong Chee Keong.

Downplaying the need for public disclosure regarding areas visited by the 'patient zero' upon her return from Singapore on 21 August, the Disease Control Chief reasoned that giving too much information on it "may cause panic", according to The Malay Mail.

"It is not that we are keeping the public in the dark, but it is unnecessary to cause alarm. After the illness had subsided and the virus was still active in the patient's blood, she had only visited a few places. The ministry has weighed all the risks. According to the date and location of her visits, we concluded that there was no need to reveal the said locations to prevent panic," Dr. Chong Chee Keong was reported as saying.

This at a time when the Zika virus is already present within our communities as confirmed by the first locally transmitted case of Zika in Sabah and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam himself warning of new Zika cases emerging in the coming days

Moreover, when the Health Ministry itself doesn't know as to where the first locally transmitted Zika virus originated from, how does it help to keep the people in dark?

To add to this, there's a high possibility that there are other Zika infected people in the country who are potential sources of infection.

The first locally transmitted patient died yesterday, 3 September

The patient, a 61-year-old from Taman Public Jaya in Likas, had tested positive for Zika.

However, the Health Ministry said that the patient's death was not due to Zika but because of his other medical conditions including heart problems.

"We are in the process of tracing the movement of this last patient over the past few weeks. We will intensify vector control activities in these areas," Dr. Subramanian said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Chong Chee told The Malay Mail that after tracking the first imported case of Zika patient's footsteps, the Health Ministry has reduced some of the locations to "risk-free" areas

"As we had gathered from dealing with dengue-carrying Aedes mosquitoes before, the feeding (time of carrier mosquitoes) is most intense around dawn and dusk. All visits the patient made during non-peak hours are discounted," he told The Malay Mail.

The patient, a 58-year old woman, is currently recovering and is expected to be discharged soon. She got infected upon her visit to Singapore where the number of Zika virus cases is rapidly rising:

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