Zika fears expected to lift condom demand

The world’s largest condom maker by volume says it views the spreading concern about the Zika virus as a long-term boost for demand.

Malaysia-based Karex Bhd.’s share price has jumped 9.5 percent since early September.

On Aug. 29, Singapore authorities announced they had identified 41 cases of Zika virus infection that were transmitted locally. The total number of cases of Zika transmissions reported in Singapore had reached 258 as of Monday, and new cases have been reported in recent days in Malaysia and the Philippines.

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On Wednesday, Malaysia confirmed its first case of the Zika virus, in a pregnant 27-year-old woman.

Besides being spread by mosquitoes, the dengue-fever-like virus can also be spread sexually, and health authorities such as the U.S.’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised men to use condoms to avoid passing the virus to their partners.

“Although we may not see a direct increase in the immediate sales of condoms partly due to the fact we still deal mainly in b-to-b [business-to-business], the awareness that such a virus brings will further bolster long-term growth prospects of condom demand overall,” Goh Miah Kiat, Karex’s chief executive officer, told The Wall Street Journal this week.

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal.