Durban malaria scare story dismissed

2009-02-15 00:00

KwaZulu-Natal residents do not need to be alarmed by the recent reports of malaria infections in the province because these are imported cases, says Bruce Margot, the acting manager of Communicable Disease Control (CDC) in Durban.

Margot disputed a report in a Sunday newspaper that alleged the three people from Mount Edgecombe residential estate Sea Cow Lake and Umhlanga, who were hospitalised with malaria, were infected locally as they had not travelled in any malaria-stricken area.

He said the three must have vacationed in a malaria-stricken area like Mozambique because local mosquitoes do not carry the disease.

“Our disease control measures, which are very effective, suggest that the three people were infected somewhere else and came back carrying the disease because local mosquitoes are not carriers of malaria”.

But he conceded that the number of reported malaria cases has increased since last year. He said the major reason for this is the influx of foreigners from countries such as Mozambique to the country.

“Prior to 2008 we had about five cases reported and last year we had about 20.”

He said the CDC is monitoring the situation and that the people of Pietermaritzburg and Durban have no reason to worry because their test method suggests the mosquitoes in these areas do not carry malaria.

“We spray the mosquitoes regularly and take them for analysis to find out if they are carrying the disease. So far the result has been negative. We will start worrying when local mosquitoes start carrying the disease.”

He advised people going on holiday where there is a high risk of malaria to take precautionary steps.

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