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Cases of Malaria Confirmed in Romanian Volunteers Returning from Humanitarian Mission in Africa

Two cases of malaria were confirmed in Suceava county, since the beginning of this year, in volunteers who returned from a humanitarian mission in Africa. Another volunteer from the team received confirmation of the disease in Iași and the case was managed by the Iaşi health authorities.

A third case of suspected malaria, in a Sucean who returned from a holiday in Martinique, was not confirmed.

The Director of the Public Health Directorate (DSP) Suceava, Daniela Odeh, stated that the two cases were registered between January 13 and February 10 this year, in two Suceavas aged 43 and 27, respectively, who contacted first DSP because they had travel history to a country where the disease evolves and had symptomatology that raised suspicions. According to the director of DSP, the patients had chills, sweats, fatigue, physical asthenia, enlarged liver. “They were referred to the hospital in Suceava and later redirected to the Clinical Hospital for Infectious and Tropical Diseases “Dr. Victor Babeș”, stated Daniela Odeh. At the “Victor Babeș” hospital, the patients were investigated and the disease was confirmed, they were treated and are currently cured.

From Suceava to Bucharest, the patients were transferred directly from the Emergency Reception Unit of the Suceava hospital, after being consulted by an infectious disease doctor. The head doctor of the Infectious Diseases section of the Suceava Emergency Clinical Hospital, Dr. Monica Terteliu-Băităn, said that before presenting to the hospital, the three volunteers who were in Uganda did a rapid malaria test and it was positive, the symptoms on which they presented were also clear for malaria, so the diagnosis did not raise any problems.

The other patient who was on vacation in Martinique had symptoms suggestive of malaria, he was also transferred to the “Dr. Victor Babeș”, but the specific tests did not confirm the disease.

In Suceava county, there have been cases of malaria in recent years, according to DSP director Daniela Odeh: one case was in July 2022 and another in 2020.

Malaria is a severe disease that in humans can be caused by four distinct species of protozoa in the genus Plasmodium (Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium Vivax, Plasmodium Ovale and Plasmodium Malariae), which are transmitted through the infective bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. Other ways of transmission of malaria are transplacentally, through the use of non-sterile needles between drug users, through blood transfusions or organ transplants.

· Malaria prevention measures, in case of travel to the area where the disease is present

DSP Suceava states on its website that more than 100 countries and territories in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Oceania are considered endemic, with the main affected region being Africa.

Symptoms are non-specific, the most common being fever, vomiting and a sudden drop in blood pressure on standing up. In most cases, malaria is diagnosed clinically based on episodes of fever or the appearance of fever.

Prompt diagnosis of the disease favors rapid initiation of specific treatment. If delayed, progression may be to coma, generalized convulsions, renal failure, hypoglycemia, cardiovascular collapse with shock, pulmonary edema, and death.

Specialists recommend that, in the case of traveling to countries where the disease evolves, the respective persons (including children) should have a medical consultation and, upon the doctor’s recommendation, undergo prophylactic treatment. The consultation should take place 4-6 weeks before travel, the prophylaxis regimen initiated two days to two weeks before departure, and treatment continued during travel and up to four weeks after return.

For the entire duration of the stay in the area where malaria evolves, it is recommended to wear long-sleeved clothing, long pants and socks, especially in the evening, when mosquitoes become more active; the use of special creams that repel mosquitoes, for the parts of the body left exposed; using bed nets treated with insecticides. The net must ensure complete isolation of the bed area. Check for possible tears and consider inserting the corners of the net under the mattress. It is recommended to sleep in the central area of ​​the bed to avoid contact with the net and possible stings. Windows and doors are also closed at night or nets are installed and insecticide sprays or mosquito sprays are used.

Upon returning from the trip, it is recommended to carry out specific analyzes to identify the parasite that produces malaria and/or emergency presentation to an infectious disease hospital in the event of fever without an apparent cause.

Tropical disease physicians emphasize that malaria vaccination is recommended for vaccination of children in sub-Saharan Africa and other areas with moderate and high P. falciparum transmission, but not for vaccination of travelers to endemic areas. Measures for travelers to malaria-endemic areas can be found: https://insp.gov.ro/download/malaria-recomandari-pentru-calatori/.

2024-02-26 18:10:59
#cases #malaria #confirmed #Suceava #county

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