Malaria increases as rainy season continues

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Polokwane - The Limpopo Department of Health has expressed concern about an increase in malaria cases in the Vhembe and Mopani districts over the past two weeks.

Department spokesperson Selby Makgotho said more than 80 patients had been treated for malaria at various hospitals and clinics since the week of Christmas.

"A total of 10 patients were treated at the Donald Fraser Hospital, nine at Tshilidzini and four at Malamulele over the Christmas weekend. In Mopani, about 36 cases were reported east of Giyani and 22 in the Ba-Phalaborwa areas over the past week alone," said Makgotho on Tuesday.

He added that people who suspected they had malaria should seek immediate treatment.

"We urge communities to immediately consult their nearest health facility for malaria tests if they experience flu-like symptoms such as body pain, headaches as well as fever," he said.

The department will be using gatherings such as funerals, tribal authority meetings as well as community meetings to promote malaria awareness campaigns during the rainy season.

More than two million people in Limpopo live in malaria-risk areas and Makgotho warned that more cases could be expected because of the continuing rains.

"Unfortunately, Limpopo is prone to malaria epidemics, especially between September and April every year, with few cases reported in winter," he said.