Mandeville Weekly News

RECENT CASES OF MALARIA IN JAMAICA

Posted by SR (riley) on Jan 13 2017 at 2:09 AM
Mandeville Weekly News >>

Jamaica has to date identified two imported cases of Malaria since the beginning of 2017.  On January 5th, there was one confirmed case reported by the National Public Health Laboratory and on January 6th, there was another reported case by a private laboratory.  Case investigation commenced immediately and the persons admitted to hospital.  The repeat blood smear for the second patient showed negative at the National Public Health Laboratory. Blood will be drawn nightly for at least three nights to determine the status of this patient. 

In 2016, there were three incidence cases of confirmed imported malaria in two  persons. One person visited Gabon twice and returned to Jamaica with malaria on both occasions.   The first case is a Jamaican National who was living in Ghana and returned to Jamaica in November 2016.  The second case is a male, Indian National who arrived in Jamaica in March 2016.  
 Following the first confirmed case on January 5, 2017, the Ministry of Health has carried out detailed case investigation; admission of patients to hospital with mosquito isolation and treatment and vector control.

Malaria in humans is caused by five species of a protozoal parasite belonging to the genus Plasmodium. These are P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae and P. knowlesi.  The malaria parasite is transmitted to humans by the infected bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes called “malaria vectors.”  There are more than 30 anopheline species that transmit malaria and Anopheles albimanus is considered the principal vector for transmission in Jamaica. 

The symptoms of Malaria include fever, chills, headache, sweats, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Some population groups are at considerably higher risk of contracting malaria, and developing severe disease, than others. These include pregnant women, infants, children under five years of age, patients with HIV/AIDS, as well as non-immune migrants, mobile populations and travelers. 

Jamaica eliminated malaria after the successful Malaria Eradication Campaign of 1958/62 with the last endemic case being in 1961.  Jamaica has been able to prevent re-introduction by public health surveillance, identifying imported cases and putting in place the necessary control measures to prevent local spread even in the presence of imported malaria.  Malaria prevention medications are available in Jamaica. You should start taking anti-malarial drugs before you travel, take them during your travels, and continue to take them for up to one month after your return. The Ministry of Health is urging Jamaicans to be cautious when travelling to areas affected with Malaria. You should contact your physician or Health Centre before traveling to malaria endemic areas, also If you develop any of the symptoms listed above after returning from these affected territories.

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