Philippines' malaria cases down by nearly 26 pct in 2022

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 10 2023 04:40 PM

Colorized image of an Aedes mosquito. This species can transmit multiple diseases. Credit: NIAID
Colorized image of an Aedes mosquito. This species can transmit multiple diseases. Credit: NIAID

MANILA — Malaria cases in the Philippines went down by around 25.7 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year, the Department of Health said on Friday. 

The recorded 3,192 malaria cases last year, down from 4,297 cases in 2021, according to DOH data presented during a virtual town hall. 

No malaria-related death was reported in 2022. The country had 3 malaria deaths in 2021.

"The malaria elimination program of the country has made significant stride in reducing the burden of cases in our country," Dr. Gerard Belimac of the DOH's Disease Prevention and Control Bureau told reporters.

The country's malaria cases peaked in 2004, with 50,850 cases.

"At the end of the year 2022, all of the indigenous cases reported in the country are from 1 province na lang and this is the province of Palawan," Belimac said.

At present, 66 provinces are declared malaria-free, 15 have zero indigenous cases, while Palawan is the only province that is not yet free of the mosquito-borne disease.

The DOH agency aims to have zero confirmed indigenous malaria cases by 2026 and raise the number of malaria-free provinces to 79.

Courtesy of DOH
Courtesy of DOH

Malaria is contracted from a bite of an infective female Anopheles mosquito that breeds in rivers and lakes, the DOH said. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion, and possibly from mother to child before or during birth.

Symptoms usually start approximately 9 to 14 days after the bite of an infective mosquito. However, in some types of malaria, the symptoms may appear 1 to several months after the infective mosquito bite. 

The symptoms include high fever, headache, chills and shivers, nausea, and vomiting. In severe form, it may include severe vomiting and diarrhea, generalized convulsion, delirium and impaired consciousness, followed by coma and possibly death.

Key measures for malaria prevention are awareness of endemic areas, bite prevention through wearing of long sleeved clothes, and use of insect repellants and mosquito nets (preferably insecticide-treated), and prophylactic treatment when traveling to endemic areas.

If symptoms of malaria are observed, the DOH urged the public to seek immediate medical consultation.

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Courtesy of DOH