BRIDGETOWN — Health authorities in Barbados have confirmed the presence of two malaria cases on the island, dispelling reported rumours of an imported Ebola case.
A statement issued this evening by the Government Information Service confirmed the diagnoses in two unnamed individuals, who presented to the island’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital with a fever.
According to the island’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, the cases were confirmed at the QEH laboratory, and the patients have since begun treatment. Neither of the individuals has a travel history to countries with an active Ebola outbreak, nor has any had contact with any persons who have Ebola.
Inforgraphic: Malaria facts and figures
Malaria is not endemic in Barbados and, as such, the current cases are likely to be imported. Additionally, the disease can only be spread through the Anopheles mosquito vector, and not the more prevalent Aedes Egypti vector which is currently spurring the region’s ongoing Chikungunya outbreak.
Malaria is caused by parasitic single-cell organisms transmitted through bites by infected Anopheles mosquitoes. Typically, symptoms include fever, fatigue, vomiting and headaches, and in severe cases, jaundice, coma or death. The incubation period for malaria is typically 7-21 days, and most patients will make a complete recovery with treatment.
Cover photo credit: Andy Langager
Infographic: Rajkamal Aich