Health officials confirmed an outbreak of malaria in central and southern Botswana with over 35 confirmed cases reported since last week, as of Sunday, April 22. Cases have been reported in Okavango, Ngami, Chobe, Boteti, Tutume, North East, Tonota, Bobirwa, Palapye, Mahalapye, Serowe, Kgatleng, Kweneng, and Moshupa. No fatalities have yet been attributed to the outbreak, which officials blame on the recent heavy rains. Authorities are working to combat the outbreak via mosquito-control measures and expect transmission to slow at the end of the rainy season in late May.
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. Pregnant women, individuals with weakened immune systems (such as those living with HIV), children under the age of five, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
To minimize the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, use insect repellent, wear covering clothing, and consider sleeping under mosquito netting if in high-risk areas. If you develop a high fever during or after travel in areas affected by malaria, seek immediate medical attention.
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