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The Andalusian Government is investigating a case of malaria in a woman who has developed the disease after giving birth last December at the Quirónsalud Campo de Gibraltar private hospital, in Algeciras (Cádiz), according to an El Pais report.

Image/Robert Herriman

The woman had not traveled to any country where this disease is endemic. The main hypothesis put forward by the public health services is that the contagion has occurred in the health center for some reason. Instruments contaminated with the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, explained health sources in the community.

A Quirónsalud spokesperson rejected this option and assured that the origin of the contagion is “a mosquito that must have bitten the woman inside or out of the hospital.”

The Board admitted that this “is one of the hypotheses under study, although the least likely based on all available information.

The woman was admitted to the hospital at the end of December and suffered several complications during the delivery, although her condition improved and both she and the baby were released from the hospital soon after. Three days later, however, the patient returned to the emergency department complaining of discomfort, but the scans carried out did not detect anything worrisome and the doctors sent home, according to the Quirónsalud spokesperson.

A few days later, the woman went to the hospital again and it was then that she was diagnosed with malaria, whose symptoms are fever, aches and pains. “Her health condition worsened. her and she was admitted to the intensive care unit, although she received the indicated treatment and she recovered, ”the hospital spokesman detailed.

The investigations into the cause of the infection initially pointed to the blood transfusion that the woman received as a result of a hemorrhage suffered during childbirth, but donor samples analyzed at the National Center for Microbiology of the Institute of Health ‘Carlos III’ ruled out that this was the origin of the case, according to this body.

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“The hypothesis of the transfusion was excluded,” confirmed the spokesman for the Board. All blood donations are subjected to various tests to rule out infectious diseases such as malaria and there is no precedent in recent decades in Spain of a contagion this way.

The researchers consider the possibility that a mosquito is in the origin of the contagion because its presence practically disappears in winter, although in some warm areas of the province of Cadiz can maintain some populations. The argument against this hypothesis, health sources explained, is that the most common Anopheles species in Spain, A. atroparvus, are a competent vector for other types of malaria, such as that caused by Plasmodium vivax, but they do not transmit the P. falciparum malaria.

“In order to obtain a conclusive answer that would support the possibility of contagion by mosquitoes, an entomological study should have been completed to detect the presence of mosquitoes specimens of the genus Anopheles capable of transmitting P. falciparum”, the sources explained.

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