Most malaria cases from Mozambique
Johannesburg - Most travel-related malaria cases are found in people returning from Mozambique, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Wednesday.
"This clearly is a reflection of the large numbers of visitors to this country from South Africa, and also of the significant malaria risk, particularly in areas north of Maputo," spokesperson Nombuso Shabalala said.
She urged travellers to watch for malaria symptoms like fever, headaches, cold shivers, sweating and muscle aches, and consult a doctor.
"It is currently the malaria season in Southern Africa and many travellers will have been exposed during their recent holidays.
"Each year, otherwise healthy travellers die from malaria because of a missed diagnosis, delays in treatment or incorrect medication used."
Shabalala said there had been a decrease in malaria cases in South Africa over the last few years. The number dropped from 60 000 cases in 2000 to an average of about 7 000 cases annually in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal. This was attributed to the success of malaria control programmes.
"Nevertheless at this time of the year residents and visitors need to be aware of the risk."
Limpopo reported an increase in malaria cases in the Mopani and Vhembe districts during the second half of December 2010 as compared to the same time in 2009.
The number of cases in northern KwaZulu-Natal, and the lowveld areas of Mpumalanga, including the Kruger National Park, had shown expected seasonal increases, said Shabalala.