Heavy rains in Limpopo means increased malaria infections

Heavy rains in Limpopo means increased malaria infectionsMalaria-carrying mosquito. (File Photo)

Residents in Limpopo are urged to use preventative methods to curb malaria infections.

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The Limpopo Malaria Institute expects a rise in the number of malaria cases because of the heavy rain experienced in the province. It is calling for increased preventative measures to curb the spread. 

The institute expects a spike once the rainy weather subsides. “The fact that it is still wet [so] we’re expecting the mosquitoes to breed, and it [should] take about two to three weeks to grow,” says Eric Mabunda from Limpopo Malaria Institute.

Mabunda states that the cases reported have reached a thousand, a low number compared to previous years. The organisation, however, is continuing with household spraying.

“Our cases are very low… compared to the past three years. We would like to keep the numbers down as we are currently busy with our spraying processes and are embarking on the interprovincial Malaria Awareness Campaign Event on January 30 at Willows Stadium. It will be a cross border event between us and Mpumalanga,” says Mabunda.

Mabunda adds that health facilities are coping with malaria medication and encourages people to prevent infections.

“Our health facilities in the province have enough stock of both insecticides, treatment, and test kits. And people should also [use] mosquito nets and insecticides so they can further prevent a malaria infection,” he says.

According to the national department of health, 10% of the population, approximately 4.9 million people, are at risk of contracting the disease.

In November, the department of health announced that the malaria cases were declining compared to 2017/18 with 18 977 reported cases and 160 deaths in the province. The department vowed to spray 933 000 households for the 2019/20 malaria season.

“Vhembe district is leading in terms of numbers followed by Mopani and the rest [Capricorn, Waterberg and Sekhukhune] are very low,” says Mabunda. 

According United States-based research organisation Mayo Clinic, initial symptoms of malaria are often the same as flu —  intermittent mild fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and generally feeling ill. – Health-e News