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Would-be parents worried over Zika

by September 1, 2016 General

PETALING JAYA: With Malaysia recording its first case of Zika, some couples are re-evaluating their plans to have a child in the immediate future.

While some are postponing pregnancy, others are approaching it with a lot more caution.

“We were planning to have children initially but we are putting it off for now. It is scary when I heard about the Zika case, and I don’t know if we want to have a baby right now. We have to see what kind of precautions the Health Ministry is taking, and whether they can control this virus,” said 32-year-old Christina.

The communications executive said she will consider having children when the situation stabilises.

“It is very scary, but I don’t think that it will stop me from trying to have a child,” said digital strategist Nicole Tan, 27.

”I will read up more on Zika to reduce my chances of contracting it. I will also make sure I don’t go to mosquito-infested areas and use more repellent. It is good to be more educated and aware on Zika, so we know what to do and what not to do,” she said.

While Zika has put a damper on some couples, 30-year Sanjay and his wife are not letting it stop them from starting a family.

“We are still trying to have children. Zika is scary but we cannot just stop our lives. However, we will still look out for symptoms and whatnot. But at the same time we don’t want to postpone anything,” he said.

Expectant parents are also now taking extra precautions over their unborn child.

“I suppose it is even more scary considering that before this we were so worried about dengue. Now, we have to take extra precautions,” said Atasha Ahmad, who is in her second trimester.

“I would rather stay at home and not go out so often, especially when mosquitoes are active,” said the 26-year-old homemaker.

Apart from getting rid of any stagnant water in her home, Atasha also praised the residents’ association in her housing area in Damansara Idaman, which makes sure the neighbourhood is fogged every two weeks to be rid of mosquitoes.

Mellissa Lee is concerned, but says that keeping a level head is important at times like this.

“Zika worries me because it’s not just mosquito-to-human transmission but it can also spread human-to-human, so both mothers and their partners have to be very careful,” said Lee, who is in her third trimester.

“I think the important thing is not to panic unnecessarily – the same precautions that we’ve taken throughout pregnancy still apply – stay away from mosquito-infested areas, use natural and pregnancy-safe repellants, listen to your doctor’s advice, and it never hurts to be too careful,” said the 28-year-old manager.

For 30-year-old illustrator Maghfirah Rifaad, prevention starts immediately.

“This is very alarming. I have already asked my husband to install electric mosquito repellents. Maybe I wouldn’t go to public places as much now, especially risky areas. When I get home later, I will keep a lookout for any containers with stagnant water,” said Maghfirah, who is due to give birth in November.

Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of infected female mosquitoes, primarily Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It can also be transmitted through sexual contact.

The mosquito-borne disease’s symptoms are generally mild in adults, but it can cause birth defects in babies whose mothers were infected during pregnancy.

Zika is believed to be linked to microcephaly in babies and other severe fetal brain defects.

Studies have found that between 1% and 10% of pregnant women infected with Zika have babies with birth defects.

Malaysia recorded its first case of Zika infection after a 58-year-old woman in Bandar Botanic in Klang was suspected to have been infected Wednesday.

She and her husband had visited their daughter in Singapore on Aug 19 and returned to Malaysia on Aug 21. He daughter was confirmed as being infected on Aug 30.

The source of infection is suspected to occur in Singapore since the patient had started experiencing signs of Zika infection on the same day with her daughter in Singapore. Her husband showed no signs of being infected.