440 malaria cases in Limpopo

At least 440 cases of malaria have been reported in Limpopo, provincial health department spokesman Cecil Motsepe said.

"During the last two weeks, an increase in the notification of malaria cases was observed in Limpopo.

"This increase is mostly confined to the known malaria high-risk areas; the north-eastern parts of Vhembe district and eastern Mopani."

Three people died from malaria in the Musina, Donald Fraser and Malamulele hospitals last week.

Not yet an outbreak

"Although this increase does not constitute an outbreak or epidemic yet, the department is concerned and we are monitoring the situation closely," Motsepe said in a statement.

"We are ensuring that all cases are fully investigated and responded to."

He said the department had a malaria control programme in place to control and reduce incidents.

"For this season we targeted 985,000 houses to be sprayed and we are proud to announce that the programme is progressing smoothly after managing to spray more than 540,000 of these houses."

Mosquito-borne disease

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease which is transmitted through the bites of certain types of mosquitoes.

Flu-like symptoms, body aches and pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea are all symptoms of the disease.

Each year, more than 250 million cases of malaria are reported worldwide, killing between one and three million people, the majority of whom are young children.

Almost 90% of malaria-related deaths, commonly associated with poverty, take place in sub-Saharan Africa.

(Sapa, January 2011)

Read more:

Mosquito nets save lives

Malaria resists some drugs

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