Malaria Update


Malaria transmission is ongoing in the Mopani and Vhembe districts of Limpopo Province. However, the overall number of reported malaria cases has gone down in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Any residents or travelers from both low and high malaria risk areas (see map) presenting with fever and flu-like symptoms are strongly advised to attend a healthcare facility or see their doctor for a malaria test, even if chemoprophylaxis was taken. A negative malaria test must be treated cautiously and repeated. Any person with a travel history to a malaria risk area who presents with fever and flu-like symptoms is unlikely to have influenza at this time since it is very early in the 2017 influenza season.

There have been a high number of malaria cases in South Africa in the 2016/17 season, compared to the previous season. This has been attributed to the rise in ambient temperature, rainfall and humidity. In the 2016/17 season, a total of 9478 malaria cases has been reported to date, of which 5177 are imported cases. For the 2015/16 corresponding period, there were 6375 malaria cases, of which 4752 were imported. However, for the 2014/15 period, 11539 cases were reported, of which 6042 were imported (Figure 1). The total number of deaths reported to date for 2016/17 is 76, compared to 58 deaths last season and 130 deaths in the 2014/15 period. The lower number of cases seen in the 2015/16 period was as a result of the drought experienced in that season.

Limpopo Province has seen a proportionately high number of cases this season, with 1648 cases and 3 deaths. An outbreak was reported in Thabazimbi and Lephalale in the western Waterberg District of Limpopo Province in February and early March 2017. Please note that the Kruger National Park is a known malaria risk area, and travelers to malaria transmission areas in South Africa (see malaria risk map), as well as to the neighbouring countries, are advised to take precautions against malaria.