January 30th, 2013
Recently, a Jamaican was diagnosed with the very contagious disease, malaria. It was reported that he had visited a country on the African continent, and this is where he may have contracted the deadly disease.
What is Malaria?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells.
Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, and vomiting, and usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. If not treated, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medicines.
Key interventions to control malaria include: prompt and effective treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies; use of insecticidal nets by people at risk; and indoor residual spraying with insecticide to control the vector mosquitoes.
Although the Chairman of the North East Regional Health Authority, Leon Gordon, confirmed the case of malaria, he says Jamaicans should not panic. He emphasised that the health department was dealing with the problem, and taking the necessary precautionary methods to stop the disease from spreading.
“It is a concern and that is why we are taking the necessary precautionary measures, but to date we have had no other report of anybody else coming down with the illness,” said Gordon.
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