Mar 27, 2017

Floods 'Cause Spike in Malaria Cases'

Anopheles gambiae mosquito. Photo: CDC
Anopheles gambiae mosquito. Photo: CDC

Health authorities in Zimbabwe are stepping up the distribution of anti-malarial drugs after 151 malaria deaths were recorded in the last two months, the Sunday Mail said.

At least 89 261 malaria cases have been recorded during that period, Zimbabwe's health ministry says.

The newspaper says a regional malaria outbreak is due to the "incessant rains experienced in the region in recent months." In Zimbabwe alone, 246 people have died and more than 2,000 have been displaced since the rains began in October. Cyclone Dineo hit Zimbabwe last month, destroying houses, schools and roads and leaving communities and schoolchildren marooned.

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told the Sunday Mail: "We are going to increase treatment services as well as (malaria) prevention drugs especially to those areas that are highly prone to malaria and also respray those areas."

Unfortunately malaria-carrying mosquitoes are becoming resistant to the insecticide used in bed nets to prevent the disease, according to international US radio station Voice of America.

Resistant strains of malaria are also believed to be emerging: in January the BBC reported that the previously widely used artemether-lumefantrine treatment had failed when used on four patients who'd been infected with malaria in Africa.