KUALA LUMPUR, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia is seeing a spike in new malaria cases this year after having no cases reported from 2018 to 2021.
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
The number of cases reported in the Southeast Asian country so far this year has already exceeded the 404 reported in 2022.
Public health experts have held deforestation, climate change and animal-to-human transmission as partly responsible for the spike and warned that resistance of malaria parasites to anti-malaria treatment drugs has also heightened the threat of the disease, according to local daily The Star.
Although Malaysia has entered the phase of eliminating the indigenous transmission of malaria, zoonotic malaria transmitted from macaque monkeys remains a public health problem, Dr. Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh at the National University of Malaysia said.
"The parasite known as Plasmodium Knowlesi is usually carried by macaque monkeys and spreads to people when a mosquito bites an infected macaque and then bites a person. This happens during logging, fishing, planting, deforestation or when entering a jungle," she said.
Meanwhile, Zainal Ariffin Omar, a public health expert, said climate change and deforestation are among the factors leading to increased Malaria cases.