The government has advised Malaysians not to visit South America due to the outbreak of the Zika virus infection, said Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam.
He said it would be a challenge for the health ministry to conduct public health screening at the country's entry points for the disease, which was spreading in South American countries including Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and El Salvador, at present.
"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," he told reporters after the launch of the Calories Awareness Campaign at expressway rest and recreation (R&R) in Seremban today.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday declared the virus as an emergency health issue in terms of international public health.
Also present to officially open the event was Works Minister Fadillah Yusof.
Subramaniam also said the ministry would release a comprehensive guidelines on the control and prevention of the Zika virus within the next one or two days.
He said among the main focus are to find ways to curb Aedes mosquito breeding as it could not only prevent the spread of the virus but also prevent dengue fever.
The cost of health expenditure of Malaysians is estimated at around RM45 to RM46 billion annually, he said.