Malaria Outbreak Hits Caribbean

November 17, 2006

An outbreak of 13 cases of “falciparum” malaria in the Caribbean province of Limón has led the Public Health Ministry to issue an alert for the area, Public Health Minister María Luisa Avila announced this week.

Authorities have observed “high risk” cases of this strain of malaria, which is rare and has not been seen in Costa Rica in 10 years. The ministry is advising citizens to “take immediate and constant measures to keep it from spreading,” including using mosquito nets.

The mosquito-transmitted disease could multiply and spread to other areas of the country, Avila said.

So far, there have been 13 confirmed cases of falciparum malaria and 29 people who suspect they have the disease.Most of them live in the canton of Matina, on the Caribbean slope.

Falciparum malaria is transmitted by a mosquito that deposits into the human body a parasite, which then attacks the blood. This can cause severe anemia that can lead to death if it is not treated in time.

The Public Health Ministry is sending additional medical personnel to Batán to implement preventive measures to keep the disease from spreading.

 

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