Thirteen cases of Malaria have been reported during the first months of 2018 in Trinidad and Tobago. The country was declared free of Malaria in 1965.
Symptoms of Malaria are an intermittent fever caused by a protozoan parasite which invades the red blood cells and is transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Once the parasites are inside your body, they travel to the liver where they mature.
After several days, the mature parasites enter the bloodstream and begin to infect red blood cells. Within 48 to 72 hours, the parasites inside the red blood cells multiply, causing the infected cells to burst open. The parasites continue to infect red blood cells and result in symptoms that occur in cycles that last two to three days at a time.
How to prevent the spread of Malaria
There is no vaccine available to prevent Malaria so your best move is to:
- keep your surroundings free of mosquitoes.
- sleep under a mosquito net to prevent getting bite by a mosquito infected with Malaria.
- cover your skin with citronella oil or pharmaceutical creams that keep bugs off of your skin.
- use bug sprays, coils and mats containing DEET to keep away the pesky mosquitoes.
Get rid of mosquito breeding sites
Eliminate mosquito breeding sites to keep you safe from Malaria. Take these steps to eliminate sites where mosquitoes call their home:
- Dispose of old tires, buckets, ceramic pots and other containers on your property that collect rain water or pool morning dew.
- Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water.
- Drill holes into the bottom of tire swings.
- At least once per week, empty standing water from decorative containers including bird-feeders on your property.
- Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers. Drainage holes in the sides of containers allow sufficient water to collect in which mosquitoes may breed.
- Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have plugged up the drain to the downspout. Flooded roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce hundreds of mosquitoes each season.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Turn over wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Store boats covered or upside down, or drain rainwater inside them weekly.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens are fashionable but become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to infest an entire neighbourhood. Be aware that mosquitoes may also breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
- Keep drains, ditches and culverts free of grass clippings, weeds and trash so water will drain properly.
- Fill in low areas on your property to eliminate standing water such as ponds or streams where fish are present or the water is disturbed by current or wave action and do not produce many mosquitoes. However, standing water is more of a breeding area. So if you have mosquitoes, the standing water in your backyard has got to go.
Stop Malaria and other diseases
Keep your surroundings clean and stop Malaria and other mosquito borne illnesses:
- West Nile virus
- Yellow Fever
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Saint Louis Encephalitis
- Western Equine Encephalitis
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis
- Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis
- Ross River Fever
- Barmah Forest Fever
April 2018 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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