Health Ministry Malaria Outbreak in Panama - 46 New Cases
Sunday, March 23 2014 @ 11:28 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
At the national level, so far this year (through the 11th week) there have been 46 reported cases of malaria, 33 in Madugandí, eight in the metropolitan area, and five in the Ngobe -Bugle region.
Malaria is endemic mainly in the indigenous regions, especially in the Eastern part of the province of Panama, and in the areas of Wargandi and Guna Yala.
It also appears in the metropolitan region, usually because the people who live in the affected areas migrate to the city carrying the disease with them, explained Carlos Gálvez, the director general of health.
The doctor said although there are people who are sick (with malaria) in the Ngobe -Bugle region, the numbers fall within the range expected for this time of year, so it is not considered to be an outbreak.
The situation in the indigenous region of Madugandí has been managed as a common outbreak.
Galvez noted that, generally, throughout the entire year there will be a certain amount of cases, but in recent weeks a peak occurred in the increase of the number of cases.
Puerto Limón , Río Piragua, Nuevo Espavé, Ipeti Kuna, Akua Yala, Agua Clara, Piria, Igarwualá, Nargandí, Cañaza Indígena and Río Sábalo are the villages where the number of affected people are concentrated.
All of these communities are connected by canoe, and some of them are far from a health center.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, about 23 health workers in the region, supported by staff from the Darien, have been deployed to each of these communities, and they will stay there for a week to make sure the infected people take the drugs as required.
They will also fumigate, eliminate breeding sites of the Anopheles mosquito, spray larvicides in puddles to kill the larvae of this vector, which transmits the disease from one individual to another through bites. (Panama America)
Editor's Comment: Malaria is a threat in Panama in the more remote regions of the country. Bug spray is your best defense - just don't get bit if you venture into the hinterlands of Panama.