KINGSTON: The Jamaica government Friday dismissed media reports that the island is on alert following an outbreak of malaria fever.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Coombs, said in a statement that Jamaica has had no locally transmitted cases of malaria since 2009.
Five imported cases of malaria were confirmed in Jamaica last year. There has been one confirmed case so far this year. Dr. Coombs said the Ministry of Health has been managing the patient who has been diagnosed according to World Health Organization guidelines.
“Our public health team has visited the community to check persons with whom the patient had contact,” said Coombs. “The Ministry is also continuing its routine surveillance which will allow us to be in a position to quickly identify and treat persons if the need arises.”
Malaria, caused by the malaria parasite, is spread when the Anopheles mosquito bites an infected person and then bites others. There is no direct person to person transmission.
Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea are also possible.
Last week, health authorities urged residents to continue efforts to destroy mosquito breeding sites and protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Coombs is also advising people to check with the Ministry of Health or their Parish Health Department before they travel to ensure that they take the necessary health related precautionary measures.
There are some countries for which persons need certain vaccines or prophylaxis before they travel.
“We are urging persons to check with us if they are not sure about the requirements for a particular country,” said Coombs. “This is important to prevent illness and the spread of certain diseases among our population.”