KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has reported an increase in malaria cases as of June 3 this year, compared to the same period in 2022.
According to a statement from the Sabah Health Department, Sabah recorded a total of 840 cases, an increase of 57.3% compared to 534 in the same epidemiological week last year.
These cases are mainly zoonotic malaria caused by Plasmodium knowlesi (P. Knowlesi) followed by a small percentage of imported or introduced human malaria cases.
The department said that among the malaria cases reported this year, the majority of cases were zoonotic malaria (816 cases/ 97.14%) followed by 14 imported human malaria cases (1.67%) and 10 human-introduced malaria cases or 1.19%.
Zoonotic malaria usually occurs among individuals residing near forest fringes, plantations and agriculture sites and are involved with activities such as logging, fishing, planting and hunting-gathering.
The department said that Malaysia has reported zero human indigenous malaria since the year 2018.
“However there is zoonotic malaria as well as imported human malaria into the country including the state of Sabah,” it said.
Recently, a scientific study reported that an increase in P. Knowlesi or malaria monyet cases in Malaysia is likely to be driven by spillover from macaques to mosquitoes to people.
P. Knowlesi is usually carried by macaques and spread to people when a mosquito bites an infected macaque and then bites a person.