Just days after reporting a travel-associated Zika virus case in a woman who contracted the virus while in Singapore, Malaysian Health Minister, Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Dr. Subramaniam Sathasivam reported on the 1st locally acquired Zika infection in a Seabah resident:

Image/Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM)
Image/Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM)

The Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) had received a report for the first local transmission case of Zika virus infection in the country on the 2ndSeptember 2016. The patient is a 61 years old male Dusun residing in Taman Public Jaya Likas, Sabah. The patient developed fever on 27thAugust 2016 and sought medical attention for the first time in Luyang Health Clinic on the 30th August 2016. On 31st August 2016, the patient had sought further treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) 2 when he experienced worsening fever, muscle aches and diarrhea.

The patient also has other co-morbidities, whereby he is suffering from high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, chronic kidney disease, kidney stones and gout. Due to his multiple illnesses, the patient’s condition was quite serious when he was first seen in the Emergency and Trauma Department at the hospital. Although the test results from the Public Health Laboratory showed that the blood and urine samples of the patient were tested positive for Zika, his serious clinical condition is perhaps due to his existing comorbidities and not primarily due to the Zika infection.

A local media account Saturday (computer translated) reports the patient has died of heart disease, and not the Zika virus.

The MOH are investigating further the patient’s recent travelling history. It was found that this Zika infection is most likely from a local source of infection (as the patient did not have any recent travelling history abroad and was probably been bitten by Aedes mosquito infected with Zika). Based on the findings of the investigation, the MOH has immediately initiated vector control activities in residential areas and places that the patient had visited. The control activities that were carried out include eliminating Aedes breeding sites, larvaciding and fogging. In addition, close contacts to the patient will be examined to determine if they have fever or other symptoms of Zika.

The latest information obtained from the Ministry of Health in Singapore noted that there are 11 Malaysians confirmed to be infected with Zika virus. Ten (10) of whom live and work in Singapore, while one (1) person is working in Singapore but is residing in Johor.

Since the Zika virus has been detected in this country, Zika case is expected to increase further, especially if prevention activities for Aedes are not seriously taken up by the community, individuals and other relevant agencies. Therefore, the MOH once again emphasises that a clean environment free from Aedes breeding grounds, proactive search and destroy Aedes breeding sites conducted at least once weekly by the community, and self-protection from mosquito bites such as using repellent is an effective method of preventing the occurrence of Zika cases. No Aedes, no Zika and Dengue.