Malaria :: Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Jamaica

As of 7 December 2006, a cluster of 21 malaria cases, caused by Plasmodium falciparum, has been reported from the city of Kingston in Jamaica [1]. The outbreak is believed to have started in late October 2006. Of the 21 reported infections, 16 cases are females and five are males, ranging from five to 72 years. Four children are among the confirmed cases. For those with known date of onset, the range is from 27 September to 30 November. One case is in a United States resident who travelled to the island from 29 October to 6 November 2006.

Like most Caribbean countries (except for the Dominican Republic and Haiti), Jamaica is not considered endemic for malaria. The mosquitoes capable of transmitting malaria are, however, present on the island, and small localised clusters may occur from time to time as a result of the tropical climate, and its proximity to countries where malaria does occur [2].

Around 160,000 United Kingdom (UK) residents travel to Jamaica every year [3], and malaria has not been documented in any UK travellers to date. The HPA Advisory Committee for Malaria Prevention in UK Travellers (ACMP) does not recommend preventive malaria medication for UK travellers to Jamaica. Travellers to Jamaica, in particular to the Kingston area, should be aware of the risk and protect themselves against evening and night-time biting mosquitoes (see NaTHNaC insect bite avoidance information sheet [4]). Any traveller who develops a febrile illness during travel, or for up to a year following their return to the UK, should be promptly evaluated and have a blood test for malaria without delay [5]. In the unlikely event that any travellers do contract malaria after visiting Jamaica, the appropriate treatment is chloroquine.

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Malaria :: Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Jamaica
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