By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
In a follow-up on the malaria epidemic in the African country of Burundi, health officials report a cumulative total of 8,571,897 malaria cases including 3,170 deaths (case fatality ratio 0.04%) across the country of some 12 million people.
This is a 93 percent increase in the number of malaria cases compared to the same period in 2018 and is an increase in cases and deaths, compared to those reported in the last five years.
The last malaria epidemic in Burundi was recorded in 2017. It affected all districts of the country and resulted in 6,218,058 cases and 2,752 deaths (case fatality ratio 0.04%) being recorded from January to October 2017.
Malaria is endemic in most parts of Burundi with an increase in cases usually observed from April to May and from November to December. However, in 2019 the usual decrease observed after May has not been seen.
The malaria epidemic in Burundi has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue an advisory for travelers to the country.
CDC recommends travelers take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Resistance to chloroquine (one of the drugs used to prevent malaria) is high in Burundi, so travelers should use daily atovaquone-proguanil, daily doxycycline, or weekly mefloquine to prevent malaria.
Because the drugs used to prevent malaria are not 100% effective, travelers should also take steps to prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing when outdoors. Because the mosquitoes that spread malaria most often bite at night, travelers should sleep in an air-conditioned or well-screened room or under an insecticide-treated bed net every night.
Travelers who develop a fever while in Burundi or after traveling to Burundi should seek medical care immediately. Malaria is a medical emergency, and appropriate treatment cannot be delayed.