Killer malaria 'not an outbreak yet'
THOUGH malaria has killed five people in Mpumalanga this month, provincial health authorities maintain that it cannot be declared an outbreak yet.
Authorities said they recorded "an unusually high number" of malaria cases in the Bushbuckridge area during December last year to date.
Departmental spokesperson Mpho Gabashane said: "Preliminary investigations indicate that the cases are spread throughout Bushbuckridge but more concentrated in the northeastern part of the area. These areas include Acornhoek, Arthur East, Rooiboklaagte, Brooklyn, Belfast, Clare, Green Valley and Welverdiendt."
He said since December to date, the department had recorded 138 cases - 90 in December and 48 in January.
"Our preliminary investigation has further linked 22 of these cases to Limpopo. There has been five deaths reported directly linked to the increase," Gabashane said
"Three deaths have been recorded in Tintswalo Hospital, which is situated in the most affected areas, one in Mapulaneng Hospital and the other in Matikwane Hospital and these deaths all occurred this month."
Gabashane said they were investigating all reported cases to establish the source of infection in order to apply necessary and appropriate interventions.
"Respraying of all affected localities is being conducted to reduce vector mosquito population.
"We request people to report early to the nearest health facility when they experience or detect symptoms like high fever, severe headache, chills and recent history of travel to malaria prone areas," Gabashane said.