With a long weekend ahead, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) is warning of the increased risk of getting malaria, following the higher rate of infections during the Easter period.
“In the three weeks since the Easter holidays, there has been an upward trend in the number of cases.
“Malaria is not spreading significantly, but there has been a rise of cases in the usual areas. This is because of local transmission, and also because of importation of cases from neighbouring countries,” said NICD deputy director John Frean.
The department of health said at least 3.2 billion of the world’s population are at risk of contracting malaria, with an estimated 300-500 million cases annually.
The provinces with the highest malaria prevalence are Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The department’s preliminary data indicated the number of cases across these three provinces has risen in the past few weeks.
“Gauteng also reports large numbers of malaria cases, but they are all imported because the local climate is unsuitable for malaria mosquitoes,” said Frean.
“Some instances occur whereby a hitch-hiking infected mosquito will arrive by taxi or truck and infect one or two people, but this does not mean that malaria has spread to Gauteng.”
He highlighted that delayed diagnosis of malaria often led to severe illness and serious complications with the possibility of death.
“Using anti-mosquito measures such as nets, repellents and prophylactic medicines does not guarantee perfect protection,” he added.