State health authorities and the relevant divisions are directed to immediately create a system to monitor and manage the Zika virus infection as a preparatory measure.

Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noorhisham Abdullah said the creation of the system involved several things including clinical monitoring of Zika cases at the health clinics, government and private hospitals whereas for laboratory monitoring, blood samples for cases of suspected infection by such a virus must be sent to the National Public Health Laboratory (MKAK).

"Microcephaly monitoring will be implemented by the Pediatrics Specialists Committee at the government and private hospitals and preventive action and virus control by the District and State Health Departments.

"In addition, visitors and crew members of ships from countries infected by the Zika virus would also be provided with the Health Warning Card as a preparatory measure and response at the country's international entry points," he said.

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Dr Noor Hisham said immediate action must also be carried out at the various levels including for women who were exposed to the risk of infection who were advised against planning to conceive at least one month after returning from cuntries which were infected with the Zika virus.

"But if they want to proceed with their pregnancy, tests for the virus must be carried out and appropriate advice will be given based on the result of the test," he said.

Pregnant women who had visited countries affected by the Zika epidemic during their pregnancy and had symptoms of the disease, tests must be carried out and if they were positive, they must be referred to the Obstetric and Gynaecology Experts for treatment and follow-up action.

According to the latest information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), 33 countries had reported infection by the Zika virus from January 2014 until Feb 5, 2016.

Among the countries confirmed of having infected by the virus are Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Curacao, Dominica Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadaloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Surinam, Virgin Islands (United States) and Venezuela.