Malaria in Limpopo under control - health department

2017-05-22 22:31
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Johannesburg – Malaria in Limpopo is under control, says provincial health spokesperson Thabiso Teffo.

Teffo said when the malaria season started in February, there were more than 3000 cases reported and the number had dropped to less than 100.

The department saw a significant increase in malaria cases between March and April.

"We recorded a high number of people that tested positive for malaria but at that time it was not even considered an outbreak, it has never been considered an outbreak."

Teffo said at this stage the disease was considered an upset.

He said the rainy season also contributed to the increase in cases.

"There was a malaria outbreak in neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique and there is still an outbreak in Malawi. But we are confident that it is not an outbreak in our country, yet."

He said malaria was curable in South Africa, only if people presented themselves to a health facility early.

Teffo said there had been 15 deaths.

"In terms of World Health Organisation standards, it is only 1% of the overall infections. Had it gone to 2%, we were then going to call it an outbreak. But we do acknowledge that one death is one too many. If you have neighbours [where] every third family is affected by a death, it feels like a crisis in that particular area."

Treating malaria 

He said when there were multiple deaths in an area, it would cause the community to panic.

Teffo said people died from malaria because they presented themselves too late.

"If you do not go to the clinic to test positive or negative for malaria, your chances of dying are much higher."

Some of the symptoms include headache, vomiting, sweating, cold shivers and chills, Teffo said.

He reiterated that there was no cause for concern.

"In the country we do not have a hospital dedicated to treating malaria so ordinary hospitals have to deal with the cases, they cannot turn people away."

On allegations that it could have been avoided had the department sprayed the homes with mosquito repellent as it had always done in previous years, Teffo said: "We have a malaria control centre and there are some communities that chase the people that spray away, we are also still trying to verify allegations that there were some areas where officials told us they sprayed but they did not.

"We have also received complaints from communities where it was alleged that our officials did not spray, only to find that they did spray."


Read more on:    polokwane  |  health

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