Malaria cases climb in Limpopo

Monday, January 11, 2010

Polokwane - More than 156 cases of malaria have been confirmed in the high-risk areas of Vhembe and Mopani in Limpopo during the first week of January 2010.

Spokesperson for the Limpopo Department of Health and Social Development Selby Makgotho said four deaths from malaria-related complications were also confirmed during the last week of December.

"To date, the province has recorded a total of 1 120 malaria cases since the beginning of the rainy season.

"The majority of these cases were reported in known malaria-risk areas in Limpopo, namely the northeastern parts of the Vhembe district and the eastern parts of Mopani, which includes Giyani and Ba-Phalaborwa," said Makgotho.

He added that although a higher number of cases had been reported over the past two weeks, it had not reached epidemic levels.

"But the department views the increase in a serious light and all efforts are being made to contain it and adequately deal with those patients already infected with the malaria parasite. Systems are also in place to monitor the reported cases on a daily basis and to respond to further increases," he said.

Makgotho advised Limpopo residents to seek medical attention as soon as they suspected they had malaria.

"It should be noted that malaria, when diagnosed in time, can be treated and cured fully. For this reason, we continue to urge communities to immediately consult their nearest health facilities for malaria tests if they experience flu-like symptoms such as body pains, headaches and fever," Makgotho said.

He said the department had 42 malaria teams in the province which were busy with a malaria indoor residual spraying campaign.

"This campaign, which is one of the major malaria control interventions in the province, aims to spray all the inside walls of houses in high-risk areas to contain the spread and transmission of malaria," said Makgotho.

The teams have completed the spraying of more than 680 000 houses during the current spraying campaign, which started in September 2009.