By NewsDesk @bactiman63
Late last month, a married couple from Kampenhout became infected with malaria and died. The cases are currently being investigated by the Flemish healthcare agency and the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp.
The couple had not visited the any malaria endemic area of the world like subtropical parts of Africa, Asia and South America where the Anopheles mosquito thrives. Health officials theorize malaria mosquito was brought into our country via the airports of Zaventem or Melsbroek.
Joris Moonens, spokesperson for Care and Health: “The type of malaria from which the couple died indicates a variant that occurs mainly in Africa. The airports of Zaventem and Melsbroek are only a few kilometers from their home. A mosquito can fly that distance.
So we think that a mosquito flew into a baggage hold from abroad, ended up at an airport and flew from there to the couple’s home, to sting and infect both people there, unfortunately with fatal outcome. ”
The investigation shows that the infections probably happened in mid-September.
Joris Moonens: “An infection by malaria in Flanders is rare in our country, let alone death. The last time we noticed an infection in Flanders was in 2014. This is a very tragic, but also very exceptional combination of circumstances. People from the neighborhood do not have to worry at all. The chance of more infections is almost nil. You cannot be infected by that one mosquito without knowing or feeling it, you would already have become ill. So you don’t have to be attentive to certain symptoms or be afraid if you have been bitten by a mosquito in recent weeks.”
According to the Institute for Tropical Medicine, 275 cases were recorded in 2015, and 351 in 2018, all of them people returning from visiting endemic areas.