An Australian man who was diagnosed with the Zika virus most likely contracted it from a monkey bite, experts have said.
The fast-moving virus, which is believed to have caused deformities in the babies of infected women in South America, has primarily been spread by mosquitoes.
However, the authors of a report into the case of a 27-year-old Australian man from 2015 suggest he contracted the virus after a monkey bite at the Ubud Monkey Forest in Indonesia.
“A traveller returning to Australia developed Zika virus infection, with fever, rash and conjunctivitis, with onset five days after a monkey bite in Bali, Indonesia,” the report wrote.
“Although mosquito-borne transmission is also possible, we propose the [monkey] bite as a plausible route of transmission.”
This report is not the first suspected case of the Zika virus in Australians.
A 2013 report showed an Australian woman, 52, had been infected with Zika virus after visiting Jakarta.
Dr Mike Catton from the Doherty Institute’s Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory told Fairfax Media that of the 1500 Australians the institute had tested for Zika since 2012, seven had been infected.
Other researchers from the Jambi Province in central Sumatra also believed Zika virus was being under-diagnosed in south east Asia, as it was often mixed up with other diseases.