Costa Rica declared a health alert Wednesday because of various new cases of malaria related to travel and immigration to and from Nicaragua, where the disease has a much broader presence.
The Ministry of Public Health announced in a statement that the alert will trigger increased vigilance of all potential cases in the country, particularly in low-lying areas, as well as increased communication regarding malaria symptoms.
“Because of the high and constant migration rates between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, mostly for work-related reasons, and taking into account that [Nicaragua] is an area of high endemic [malaria presence] and has recently reported an increased number of cases, we have decided to declare a health alert for increased risk of transmission of malaria in Costa Rica,” the statement indicated.
Malaria is transmitted through mosquito bites in areas of less than 500 meters (approximately 1,600 feet) above sea level. Its symptoms include fever, chills, headaches and muscular pain.
Costa Rica had no malaria cases between 2012 and 2015, but this year has reported nine cases in different parts of the country.