Keeping track of malaria where it supposedly does not exist

Non-endemic does not mean no malaria.  The Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) explained that, Jamaica has been malaria-free for over fifty (50) years, although a number of imported malaria (Plasmodium falciparum) cases were identified each year.” That said, Rawlins and colleagues observed that there were 897 reported malaria cases in the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) Member Countries (CMCs) between 1980 and 2005 with Jamaica accounting for 38.4%.

Then the situation changed briefly. WHO posted information in 2007 that, “The Ministry of Health of Jamaica has confirmed 280 cases of malaria due to Plasmodium falciparum on the island between 6 November 2006 and 3 February 2007. Of these reported cases, 264 have occurred in Kingston, 12 in St Catherine, 3 in St Thomas and 1 in Clarendon. There have been no reported deaths due to malaria.”

black-river-gator.JPGWHO recommended that while “Jamaica is a non-endemic country for malaria … The occurrence of this outbreak highlights the importance of conducting surveillance in countries that are non-endemic to malaria.”

[LEFT: malaria free but not alligator free]

Likewise Rawllins et al. warned that, “All the essential malaria transmission conditions–vector, imported malaria organism and susceptible human host–now exist in most CMCs. A call is now made for enhanced surveillance, vector control and anti-malaria skills to be established in CMCs.”

We cannot turn our backs on malaria – malaria carrying mosquitoes do not mind whether they bite us in front or in back.

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