KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday January 17, 2017 – With two cases of malaria already recorded for the year, Jamaica’s ministry of health says measures are being taken to curtail the spread of the disease.
One case was confirmed by the National Public Health Laboratory on January 5. The second, which was reported by a private laboratory on January 6, is awaiting the results of retesting on blood samples from people coming in contact with that individual.
According to Chief Medical Officer, Dr Winston De La Haye, the ministry was notified about both people, one from St Catherine and the other from Montego Bay, who have been hospitalized.
“We have since increased the number of samples tested in terms of contact. We sent 71 samples off for testing of individuals this person may have been in contact with (and) all 71 are negative for malaria,” he said.
De La Haye also said that detailed investigations and vector control activities and searches for Anopheles mosquito breeding sites unearthed three locations near the home of one of the patients.
Fogging will consequently be conducted in the vicinity of both persons’ homes over the next several weeks, he added.
Dr De La Haye said the Ministry had also conducted community fever surveillance for early detection of the disease from January 6 to 7.
This saw officials visiting 179 households of which members of 156 were interviewed and 31 blood samples taken for testing.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito.
Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, profuse sweating, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
The ministry of health urged persons to exercise caution when travelling overseas to destinations where malaria is prevalent.
Travellers are advised to take anti-malarial drugs before departing, during their visit and one month after returning. They should also see a doctor or visit a health centre before travelling and if symptoms occur after returning.