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A high number of malaria cases have been reported in the malaria in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
According to the Institute for Communicable Diseases, the hardest hit areas are some farms along the Lephalale River in the Limpopo Waterberg district and in Mpumalanga.
The health body has confirmed that it has also noted a modest increase in such cases in the Kruger National Park and private game reserves.
This follows a very busy 2017 malaria season, which peaked in April and May and extended into June.
High rainfall, humidity and ambient temperatures ostensibly provided ideal conditions for malaria mosquito breeding and contributed to an increase in malaria cases in the southern African region.
Spokesperson for the institute, Sinenhlanhla Jimoh, said: “Unusually mild winter temperatures in malaria areas have allowed for ongoing mosquito and parasite development and led to an early and busy malaria season, which started earlier than expected.
“The key prevention strategy of the malaria control programmes in endemic areas is spraying of households with long-acting residual insecticides (IRS), which target indoor-feeding mosquitoes. This IRS programme is in progress in malaria transmission areas in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Kwazulu-Natal provinces. The 2017 programme will target a larger area than in 2016.
“Early treatment of malaria cases is a key strategy and this season there are adequate supplies of drugs and rapid malaria tests in health facilities in the affected provinces to manage the increase in malaria cases.”
Unusual malaria cases, affecting persons with no recent history of travel to malaria transmission areas, have been reported in Kilner Park, Theresa Park, Akasia in Pretoria and Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni.
“Unfortunately, one patient has demised. It is most likely that Anopheles malaria vector mosquitoes, which had been accidentally transported by vehicles from malaria areas, were responsible. This form of disease is called odyssean malaria, also known as airport, suitcase, minibus, or taxi-rank malaria. It is a very rare condition: since 2007, only 72 such cases have been recorded in South Africa, mostly in Gauteng Province.
“Understandably, the absence of a travel history often leads to the diagnosis of malaria being delayed, with ‘flu being most commonly assumed as the cause of illness,” Jimoh said.
Experts from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases are assisting the provincial and district Departments of Health to investigate the incidents.
Limpopo Health spokesperson, Thabiso Teffo. Said” “Since September, we have already dispatched our spraying teams to several households in the Mopani and Vhembe regions.”
Asked why they haven’t send teams to the Waterberg, Teffo responded: “Waterberg is not necessarily a malaria prone area. Our main target are those areas in the far north and northeast of the province.”