Saint Lucia has recorded an imported case of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite.
This is the first case for 2014.
A medical student who arrived from India on September 13 complained of fever, chills, malaise, confusion and vomiting. Tests done on Sept. 23 confirmed plasmodium vivax parasite which causes malaria. He was admitted at Victoria Hospital.
A well-placed source told St. Lucia News Online that the student attends a medical school in the north of the island and returned to St. Lucia after vacation in India.
“This young man has been presenting symptoms almost two weeks prior to his admission. This is something we need to worry about because if those students can introduce malaria to the island, an illness that was eradicated from the Caribbean, then we seriously need to consider the method of entry of foreigners on our island. We don’t have a special unit on the island to quarantine anyone who has contracted a contagious or potentially deadly illness,” a health source told SNO.
However, Glen Simon, an information officer attached to the Ministry of Health, told SNO there is no cause for panic, noting that all cases of malaria have been imported, and the disease is usually contained.
This is the eighth case of malaria in St. Lucia since 2005.
St. Lucia recorded two cases in 2005, one in 2010, one in 2011, two in 2012 and one in 2013.
Malaria is caused by plasmodium parasites which are spread to people through the bites of infected anopheles mosquitoes, called malaria vectors, which bite mainly between dusk and dawn.
The World Health Organization estimates that in 2012 malaria caused 207 million clinical episodes, and 627,000 deaths. An estimated 91 percent of deaths in 2010 were in the African region.