Malaria claims 14 lives in Limpopo

2013-12-24 07:16
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Polokwane - Malaria has claimed the lives of at least 14 people in Limpopo since October.

While the number of deaths is normal for this time of year, the number of individual malaria cases has risen sharply, said provincial health spokesperson Adele van der Linde.

Last year, only 548 malaria cases were reported between April and December.

This year, 1 498 cases have already been reported and this figure is expected to rise even more, she said.

“As we are approaching the middle of the summer, more malaria cases are to be expected in the known malaria transmission areas of Vhembe, eastern Mopani, Giyani, Musina and Malamulele,” warned Van der Linde.

She said the department is monitoring all health facilities in the province daily to detect any increases and to respond when necessary.

Malaria tests and treatment are already available at all health facilities. 

Van der Linde said 42 teams are currently spraying the inside of homes in malaria risk areas to ward of mosquitoes.

“The target is to spray 990 000 structures during the current malaria season. Of these, 560 000 structures have already been sprayed," she said.

Limpopo uses the DDT residual spraying programme to control and prevent malaria.

DDT, which has been banned in many countries, was used in South Africa from 1946 until 1996 when the government also banned its use because of its effect on the environment, on the human immune system and on human hormones.

After it was banned, South Africa was hit by a malaria epidemic that left hundreds dead and thousands infected.

After its reintroduction in 2000, the number of malaria cases dropped from 64 868 to 7 754 in 2005.

Malaria can be prevented by remaining indoors between dusk and dawn, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and spraying aerosol insecticide for flying insects indoors, especially the bedrooms after closing the windows, at dusk.

Mosquito coils or mosquito mats may also be burned in living and sleeping areas during the night.

People can also hang a mosquito-proof net over bed, with edges tucked in under the mattress.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  health

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