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Malaria outbreaks reported in the north

The Ministry of Health on Saturday announced that malaria cases had been diagnosed in the north of Cyprus.

According to a Health Ministry announcement, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have been informed that three cases of malaria have been diagnosed in English tourists who visited the north.

The three had been staying at a resort in the Ayios Amvrosios (Esentepe) area of the Kyrenia (Girne) province. The outbreaks occurred in the last week of August and were diagnosed after the three’s return to the United Kingdom in the first week of September.

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The Health Ministry said it was closely following the issue and is in continuous cooperation with the two international organisations. It is noted that the last time malaria cases with domestic transmission were reported in Cyprus  was 1967.

Although according to the risk assessment of the two international organisations it has not yet been clarified whether the incidents came through an active outbreak in the area where the tourists in question were staying  in the north (this is something that is being examined by genetic analysis of the plasmids that caused the disease in patients ), the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Cyprus has taken all appropriate preventive measures. However, it has also pointed out to the public that there are no grounds for concern, as the risk of transmission as assessed by the ECDC as very low.

The Ministry of Health, the announcement continues, for purely precautionary reasons, wishes to remind the public, and in particular those intending to visit the area where the incidents occurred, the following mosquito protection measures:

– Ensure that your garments are suitable for protecting as much of the body as possible (long sleeves and trousers, light and loose clothing).

– Use insect repellents on exposed skin and under clothes containing active substances such as DEET (N, N-dialkyl-meta-toluamide), icaridine, picardine (Picaridine (KBR 3023)), IR3535 and natural substances, such as eucalyptus lemon oils (but have relatively reduced insect repellent effect). Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their personal physician for insect repellents, as should parents of children aged under two.

If people who have traveled to the north develope a fever, shivering or other relevant symptoms within the next one to four weeks, they should visit their doctor and let them know about their visit.

Health professionals are also being informed on the matter by the Public Health Services.

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