News24

Jump in malaria cases - Netcare

2011-01-31 19:08

Johannesburg - There has been a "considerable" rise in South Africans showing malaria symptoms in recent weeks, the Netcare hospital group said on Monday.

"Most of these individuals visited malaria areas where above average rainfall has resulted in hot and humid conditions," said Dr Pete Vincent, a spokesperson for Netcare Travel Clinics.

"Families who have visited places such as Mozambique and the northern parts of SA such as Mpumalanga and Limpopo as well as Maputaland in KwaZulu-Natal should be vigilant," he said.

Symptoms usually appear a week or two after a person is bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito.

They include feelings of weakness, lethargy and dizziness, fever and sweats, muscular and abdominal pains, vomiting and diarrhoea.

The disease can result in death if not treated soon enough.

According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, 3 470 cases have been reported in South Africa so far this malaria season.

Sixty-one percent were reported in Limpopo, 27% in Mpumalanga and the rest in KwaZulu-Natal.

Vincent said a multi-pronged approach to the prevention of the disease was necessary.

"Do everything possible to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes while also taking your prophylaxis as prescribed by your doctor or travel clinic," he said.

"Use repellents, insecticide fabric sprays and mosquito nets treated with such sprays can also help a great deal."