19. December 2011 07:20
Recent reports from Dubai’s International City have noted an increase in cases of malaria.
Malaria, a protozoan parasite is spread by the female, night biting Anopheles mosquito. Malaria is endemic in more than 100 countries worldwide and causes hundreds of thousands of deaths a year.
In 2007 the United Arab Emirates was declared malaria free by the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, there have been cases of imported malaria where people have become infected abroad and enter the country. The Dubai Health Authority confirms that all reported cases in 2011 have been imported malaria from expatriates returning to the country.
Recently some local doctors have been concerned by the increase in cases and that these may be caused by local transmission within Dubai due to local residential areas being near dirty water sources, the perfect breeding ground for Anopheles mosquitoes which carry malaria.
The Dubai malaria free status and recommendations from WHO, the Dubai Health Authority and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NATHNAC) has not changed, but travellers should be aware and take extra bite avoidance measures. These include DEET insect repellent, wearing long sleeved clothing, trousers and socks, clothing insecticide spray and impregnated mosquito nets. Feverish illness whilst in Dubai or up to several months upon return should promptly be investigated by a doctor.