KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Ministry of Health and Environment says it has malaria under control, but has urged residents, especially in the New Haven, St Andrew area, to continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Dr. Eva Lewis-Fuller, chair-person of the Malaria Prevention and Control Committee, said the ministry has not found any new case of malaria since one case was confirmed in the New Haven community recently.
However, she noted that the ministry has intensified its vector control activities in the area.
Lewis-Fuller said in a release last week that insect repellent was useful in preventing mosquito bites and its use was strongly encouraged, even when appropriate clothes were being worn. She stressed the importance of sleeping under mosquito nets that have been specially prepared with insecticide.
“This is especially important for children and pregnant women,” Lewis-Fuller said.
She added: “The malaria case discovered in the New Haven area on June 21 confirms that the malaria outbreak which started in November 2006 is not completely over. However, while it is not unusual to have occasional cases at the tail end of an outbreak, we can prevent another flare-up by taking all possible precautions.”
Meanwhile, Lewis-Fuller, who is also the director of health promotion and protection in the ministry, said the number of dengue fever cases has remained stable.
She said the ministry remained vigilant because there was a recent dengue fever outbreak in some Latin America countries.
Malaria is transmitted when a female Anopheles mosquito, infected with a malaria parasite, bites an individual. The feeding time of the Anopheles mosquito is between nightfall and dawn.
The symptoms of malaria include fever, chills and headaches, muscle aches and tiredness.
If not treated early, complications may occur, including liver, kidney failure and infection of the brain.