KOTA KINABALU: A German woman visiting Sabah in 2014 contracted the Zika virus, indicating that the mosquito-borne virus has always been present in the region, according to a report by the US-based Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It reported last year that a 45-year-old German woman, who had extensively travelled in Sabah in August 2014, contracted the Zika virus on her return to her hometown in Germany.
The article can be read at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/21/5/ 14-1960_article.
The report stated that the woman was treated at an outpatient clinic in Heidelberg on Sept 1, 2014, for fever of up to 39ºC and rashes covering her trunk, arms and legs after returning from a three-week vacation in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia.
The woman experienced sore throat, bilateral conjunctivitis and a burning sensation of the palms and soles accompanied by swelling of the hands.
But her fever subsided after three days.
Blood samples were taken and tests were carried out to identify the cause of illness and the Zika virus was found to be present on the sixth day, the report stated.
It added that she had visited several cities and villages here, including the interior Keningau district and had stayed in hotels, private homes and remote church homes under various conditions.
The woman had told medical officers that she had noticed several mosquito bites even though she had used repellents during her holiday here.
Based on the basis of the incubation time of about six days in returning travellers, it was suspected that the patient became infected with the Zika virus in Keningau or the surrounding villages, the report said.
According to the report the presence of Zika virus had also been reported in the country in the early 1950s or 1960s.
There were also research findings that stated that the Zika virus had been detected in mosquitoes in Peninsular Malaysia in 1969 and that antibodies against the virus were demonstrated in blood samples from 15 out of 79 patients.
In Sabah, nine out of 50 patients were reported to have the antibodies in 1953, the CDC report stated.