Malaria Outbreak Causes Ousting of Haitians from CONCACAF Championship

The Jamaica Observer reports that Haiti’s Under-17 players and officials had to leave Jamaica yesterday after officially withdrawing from the CONCACAF Championship due to a malaria outbreak within their ranks. The Haitian players, who have played only one of their two Group A matches in the tournament being hosted in Montego Bay, were forced to pull out after at least three members of their delegation–two players and a coach–were found to be suffering from malaria. The three were taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital.

According to the article, the ministry recommended that “in the circumstances, they do not participate (further) in the tournament and therefore return to Haiti.” The ministry also announced that it has implemented a “surveillance system to be able to quickly identify and treat any other cases. Vector control measures, including fogging of adult mosquitoes, have also been put in place.”

According to the health ministry, there have been no locally transmitted cases of malaria since the start of the year. Meanwhile, a release from CONCACAF, the football body that represents nations of North and Central America and the Caribbean, yesterday advised of the team’s withdrawal and subsequent cancellation of their game against El Salvador that was scheduled to open the Jarrett Park phase of the tournament.

Although the Jamaican press reported that the team officially withdrew, the Haitian press (such as Le Nouvelliste and Haiti Libre) sees it differently. Apparently, the Haitian Football Federation (FHF) expressed in a press release that “it is with sadness and frustration” that they that “the U17 national team was forced by the Government of Jamaica to leave the qualification for the World Cup. Two of our players are infected with malaria, a disease is not contagious and spreads through human contact.”

[Many thanks to Nadève Ménard for bringing these items to our attention.]

For full article, see http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sports/Malaria-outbreak-ousts-Haitians-from-U-17-tourney_8381610 (in English); see http://www.haitilibre.com/article-2356-haiti-football-l-equipe-masculine-u-17-quitte-les-eliminatoires-pour-cause-de-maladie-maj13h12.html, http://www.lenouvelliste.com/article.php?PubID=1&ArticleID=89263&PubDate=2011-02-17 and http://www.haitilibre.com/article-2360-haiti-football-la-fhf-frustree-la-jamaique-explique.html (in French)

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