Jamaica health authorities deny malaria alert

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Saturday January 12, 2013 – The Jamaica government Friday dismissed media reports that the island is on alert following an outbreak of malaria fever

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Coombs in a statement said that the island has had no locally transmitted cases of malaria since 2009.

Last year there were five imported cases of malaria and one confirmed case so far this year.

Dr. Coombs said regarding the media reports of the imported case so far this year, the Ministry of Health has been managing the patient according to World Health Organization guidelines.

“Our public health team has visited the community to check persons with whom the patient had contact. The Ministry is also continuing its routine surveillance which will allow us to be in a position to quickly identify and treat persons if the need arises,” Dr. Coombs said.

Malaria, caused by the malaria parasite, is spread when the Anopheles mosquito bites an infected person and then bites others. There is no direct person to person transmission. 

Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea are also possible.

Health authorities Friday urged residents to continue efforts to destroy mosquito breeding sites and protect themselves from mosquito bites.

Dr. Coombs is also advising people to check with the Ministry of Health or their Parish Health Department before they travel to ensure that they take the necessary health related precautionary measures.

There are some countries for which persons need certain vaccines or prophylaxis before they travel.

“We are urging persons to check with us if they are not sure about the requirements for a particular country. This is important to prevent illness and the spread of certain diseases among our population,” Dr. Coombs said. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)