ASWAN, Egypt: An outbreak of malaria in north Aswan has afflicted at least 11, and potentially more according to varying sources.
Ten malaria patients are at Edfu Hospital and two cases are in Asyut University Hospital, Youm7 reported.
A medical source told Youm7 that there are 14 other suspected cases at Edfu Hospital and blood samples have been taken from patients to check if they actually have the disease.
The medical source said that samples were taken from 670 people in Edfu and surrounding villages.
Edfu Hospital said that in speaking to villagers from east of Edfu, they believe the outbreak may have occurred after the group interacted with a group of Sudanese who may have recently relocated to the Egyptian side of the border.
Cases of malaria, an infectious mosquito-borne disease are rare in Egypt, but common in neighboring Sudan. Malaria is caused by a parasite called plasmodium transmitted through the bites of infected female mosquitoes. It multiplies in the liver and infects red blood cells, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
Malaria symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting. These symptoms usually appear 10 to 15 days after the mosquito bite. If not treated, malaria can become life threatening by obstructing blood supply to vital organs. In some instances, the parasite can become resistant to some anti-malarial medicines.
Dr. Amr Qandil, the head of the Precautionary Medicine Department at the Ministry of Health told The Cairo Post his office was only aware of 11 cases of malaria in Aswan, but the government was responding to contain the spread of the disease.
“A team from the Ministry of Health headed to Edfu Wednesday, the day we first knew of the cases,” Qandil said. “The team offered free malaria medicine to patients and checked all residents by taking blood samples.”
Qandil added that two or three of the cases were leaving the hospital Saturday after they recovered. He said that the status of other afflicted patients is stable and that the ministry’s team is equipped to eradicate mosquitoes and mosquito larva.
The main interventions to control malaria include quick and effective treatment with artemisinin-based drugs, use of mosquito nets and insecticide according to the WHO.
Additional reporting by Abdallah Salah.