In a follow-up on the locally-acquired malaria situation in Cape Verde, or Cabo Verde, the total number of cases reported in the city of Praia on Santiago Island has climbed to 343, including 40 new locally acquired malaria cases reported last week. One death has been reported.
Most cases are reported in adult males and all cases have been confirmed by either microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests.
A large proportion of the 37 zones of Praia have been affected. The most affected neighborhoods are Varzea (54 cases, 16%), Achada Santo Antonio (28 cases), Achadinha (27 cases), Paiol (19 cases), and Calabaceira (16 cases). A handful of cases have also been detected on neighboring islands (São Vicente, Sal and Porto Novo); however, the infections were likely acquired during travel to Praia, with no evidence of onward local transmission.
The UN says local transmission of malaria infection continues in Cabo Verde despite ongoing control interventions. This tenuous situation is an indication that more efforts are needed to interrupt the local transmission. While other aspects of the response may be challenged, vector control measures appear to be at its weakest point, owing to a number of factors, including inadequate technical human capacity. In addition, risk communication and community mobilization, being the cornerstone of the control measures, requires strengthening. Both urgent and sustained interventions, concentrating on proven strategies of vector control and early treatment are needed to bring the current outbreak under control and keep the country on course to eliminating the disease by 2020.
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