Malaria Update: Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces 

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In the Limpopo Province, malaria transmission is ongoing, mainly in Mopani and Vhembe Districts, with some increase in cases in adjacent areas of the northern Kruger National Park. However, the number of new cases of malaria in the province is starting to decline. Provincial and district authorities are attending to antimalarial drug shortages: Hospitals and clinics are receiving supplies of Coartem for oral treatment and rapid diagnostic tests are being made available in areas of greatest need.

In Mpumalanga Province, a malaria outbreak has been declared in the Bushbuckridge area related to increased numbers of malaria cases.

There are a number of reasons for the increase in malaria transmission in recent weeks. The malaria areas of South Africa are prone to epidemics because of the seasonal nature of malaria in the region. The current situation is due to a combination of increased rainfall and temperatures, and reduced insecticide spray coverage in some areas has probably contributed. Vector control by indoor spraying is expensive and labour-intensive, and the malaria control programme has to adjust its spraying activities according to available budget, and because certain areas have been effectively cleared of malaria for a number of years. However, they still remain at risk of outbreaks if circumstances are favourable for the vectors.

Residents in and travellers returning from both provinces should seek help from their nearest health facility or doctor if they experience malaria symptoms – fever, chills, sweats, headaches, nausea and vomiting, body aches or yellow discolouration of eyes/skin. The influenza season has not yet commenced in South Africa, so persons should not ignore symptoms or attribute them to influenza. Travellers to malaria transmissions areas in South Africa (see malaria risk map), as well as to the neighbouring countries, are advised to consult with their doctors for anti-malarial chemoprophylaxis.