A new outbreak of malaria has been reported in Norte de Santander department’s Tibú municipality. According to health officials, nearly 200 cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been detected in the municipality.
A total of 1728 cases have been reported in Norte de Santander over the past six months. This is twice the number of cases reported in all of 2017. The spike in cases has been attributed to infected immigrants fleeing neighboring Venezuela, where a major epidemic is ongoing. Health officials also fear possible spikes in measles and diphtheria due to the influx of Venezuelan migrants.
Symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, headache, nausea, and body aches; early symptoms usually appear between seven and 15 days after the contaminating mosquito bite. There is no vaccine but preventive medications are available. Generally speaking, the risk of contracting malaria is highest at night (between dusk and dawn), when the mosquitoes that transmit the disease are most active.
Individuals in Colombia, notably Norte de Santander, are advised to take measures to prevent mosquito bites and to consult their doctor regarding medication options.
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