The confirmation of the second case of Zika, in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, suggests that the virus is already present in the country, said Health Minister S.Subramaniam.
He noted that the patient, who died of heart complications yesterday, had not been to any other country where large number of cases had been reported.
This, he said, meant that the man contracted the disease locally.
“He was infected after being bitten by a mosquito which was carrying the virus within our country,” he said in a Facebook posting.
Subramaniam said the ministry didn’t have the answer to the question of where the mosquito came from.
“It suggests that there are other infected people in the community who are potential sources of infection,” the minister said.
Yesterday, Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said the 61-year-old male Zika patient who resided in Sabah, had died due to complications from his underlying heart condition.
Malaysia reported its first case of Zika infection when a 58-year-old woman in Bandar Botanic, Klang, Selangor, tested positive for the virus a week after her return from Singapore on Aug 21.
The ministry was in the process of tracing the movement of the man over the last few weeks, Subramaniam said, adding that vector control activities in these areas would be intensified.
He said the man had pre-morbid conditions including heart failure and chronic renal disease which were life threatening.
“Any form of viraemia in such a situation could have tilted the balance and caused his demise,” Subramaniam said.