Malaysia's Health Minister Subraminam Sathasivam on Wednesday (7 September) confirmed the first case of Zika virus in a pregnant woman in the country.
The 27-year-old woman lives in the southern city of Johor Bahru, next to Singapore and she's around three months pregnant with her first child, according to Sathasivam.
Subramaniam added that they are bracing for more such cases because of Johor Bahru's proximity to Singapore. Almost 200,000 people commute every day from Johor to Singapore.
On 2 September, the woman and her husband began showing symptoms of Zika such as body aches, fever and rashes. She was later taken to the government hospital where she was tested positive for the virus. Her husband, who works in Singapore, has also shown symptoms for Zika and is undergoing tests. Singapore has reported about 275 cases of Zika infection so far.
At a news conference in Putrajaya, Subramaniam said, "It's still unclear whether the woman contracted the disease from her husband or whether it was locally transmitted," Reuters reported.
Zika infections in pregnant women cause microcephaly, a serious birth defect in which the head and the brain of the child are undersized along with many other abnormalities.
The Health Minister on 3 September had confirmed the first locally transmitted Zika virus infection case involving a 61-year-old man from Sabah. The man later died from heart-related complications.
The Malaysian Health Ministry expects the number of cases to increase further, "especially if prevention activities for Aedes are not seriously taken up by the community, individuals and other relevant agencies," Channel NewsAsia reported.