Malaria – No Need To Fear!
Following on from last week’s Islander article about malaria, we are aware of people’s concerns regarding the spread of this disease on Ascension. In particular concerns were in relation to last week’s medical transport from a passing vessel for two crew members who required urgent medical treatment for malaria.
We would like to reassure people that, whilst diseases like malaria are a risk; the actual risk of this disease spreading on Ascension is minimal. As you may have read in the article last week, the spread of malaria is solely caused by the female mosquito, and only 60 sub species of which can transmit the disease. This species of mosquito is not currently found on Ascension and therefore the disease cannot be transmitted across the island.
With regards to the two crew members, we can confirm that they have both been treated in Georgetown Hospital on their arrival. Malaria cannot be spread from human to human; it needs the right type of mosquito to act as a carrier (which as we have indicated above, is not found on Ascension). Therefore the presence of malaria sufferers on the island presented no additional risk, without their mosquito counter-part.
We hope that this note settles any concerns in the community. Of course, there is no complete guarantee we won’t accidentally import the malaria carrying mosquito in the future. However this is where the importance of bio-security comes into play. And you will be hearing more about that in weeks to come and the role you can play in ensuring that Ascension remains free from these diseases in the future. For more information on malaria, you can visit the website of the Malaria Atlas Project.
AIG, 26 September 2016