Posted: Monday, April 26, 2021. 10:53 am CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Belize could be certified malaria-free by next year, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
To commemorate World Malaria Day, celebrated annually on April 25, PAHO issued a statement on Belize’s progress in eradicating malaria, noting that the country has not reported a case since December 2018, but that urgent action is still required to keep the country on track to eliminating the disease and being certified as a malaria-free Belize by 2022.
“Between 2010 and 2020, Belize achieved a 100% reduction in local malaria cases (150 cases to zero cases), with its last case reported in December 2018, placing the country one step away from malaria elimination. In the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the focus is now on the prevention of the reintroduction of the disease through early detection, prompt treatment, and good coverage of preventive measures such as mosquito nets distribution and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) to maintain zero local cases,” PAHO said
According to the report published by the World Health Organization (WHO), Belize is one of eight countries that participated in the E-2020 malaria initiative that has reported zero indigenous cases of human malaria by the end of 2020, alongside Algeria, Cabo Verde, China, El Salvador, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Malaysia, and Paraguay.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by any one of four parasites, which are spread to humans through female Anopheles mosquitoes. Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. Malaria may also cause anemia and jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes) due to the loss of red blood cells.
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