6 malaria cases confirmed in Tshwane

Pretoria - Six people have been diagnosed with malaria in Tshwane in Gauteng without visiting malaria areas, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said.

"Malaria has been confirmed in six patients in Gauteng province without a recent history of travel," the NICD said in a statement posted on its website this week.

"These cases originate from two separate areas: three patients from Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, and three patients from a private housing estate in Pretorius Park, Pretoria East."

The most likely explanation for this was that malaria mosquitoes had travelled with holidaymakers returning to their homes in Tshwane.

"It is likely these cases acquired infection by the bites of infected mosquitoes translocated from endemic areas in vehicles, containers or by other modes - a relatively rare occurrence known as odyssean malaria," said the NICD.

"Nevertheless, the possibility of a locally breeding malaria vector population causing local malaria transmission cannot be ruled out at this stage."

The NICD urged healthcare workers to be vigilant and consider malaria as a possible diagnosis in patients with unexplained high fevers, even in the absence of a travel history.

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