The Jamaica Observer reports that the Ministry of Health is undertaking measures to curtail the onset of malaria following reports of two cases surfacing in Jamaica which were identified by local health authorities at the start of the year. Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito.
The National Public Health Laboratory confirmed one case on January 5 while the second, which was reported by a private laboratory on January 6, is awaiting the results of retesting on blood samples from persons coming in contact with that individual.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Winston De La Haye, said that the Ministry was notified about both persons, one from St. Catherine and the other from Montego Bay, who have been admitted to hospital. “We have since increased the number of samples tested, in terms of contact. We sent 71 samples off for testing of individuals this person may have been in contact with… (and) all 71 are negative for malaria,” he informed.
De La Haye also advised that detailed investigations and vector control activities and searches for Anopheles mosquito breeding sites carried out, unearthed three locations near one of the patient’s home. Consequently, he said, fogging will be conducted in the vicinity of both persons’ homes over the next several weeks. Additionally, from January 6 to 7, Dr De La Haye said the Ministry conducted community fever surveillance for early detection of the disease. [. . .]
The ministry urges persons to exercise caution when travelling to regions overseas where malaria is prevalent.
People are advised to take anti-malarial drugs before departing, during their visit and one month after returning. Additionally, they should consult a physician or visit a health centre before travelling and if symptoms occur after returning. [. . .]