14ymedio, Cienfuegos/Miami, 10 January 2017 – About a dozen people have been hospitalized at Gustavo Aldereguía Lima Hospital in Cienfuegos with a diagnosis of malaria detected in Rodas, a municipality in southern central Cuba.
The cause of the disease is plasmodium, a parasite that is transmitted to humans through the bite of the female mosquito part of the anopheles genus. It is potentially deadly and affects various areas of the planet.
“They are undergoing sanitation efforts. They have eliminated the source from the Damují River and we are in the middle of an intense fumigation campaign through the streets,” explained a nurse from a Rodas polyclinic who chose to remain anonymous in the independent press due to fear of repercussions.
“It is something that cannot be spoken about unofficially. The Health Minister himself, Roberto Morales Ojeda, has visited the province on various occasions in the past several weeks,” confirms the same source.
Morales, born in Rodas, was at one time the director of the Municipal Unit of Hygiene and Epidemiology of that town and the municipal director of health in Rodas and Cienfuegos.
According to a Rodas native who now lives in Miami, alarm has spread throughout the population, which totals about 30,000 inhabitants.
“Family members call and describe the situation they find themselves in, but when you look for information through the official press there is nothing to be found,” says the anonymous source.
Malaria is an acute febrile illness. The first symptoms, which include fever, strong headaches, chills and vomiting, begin a week after the mosquito bite.
According to the medical literature, if the disease goes untreated within the first 24 hours, some cases of malaria, such as the one propagated by the parasite plasmodium falciparum, can escalate, often leading to death.
Children may show symptoms of severe anemia, sometimes even affecting the brain. In adults there can also be adverse effects on various organs.
For the spread of malaria to occur, mosquitoes need to have an area where they can reproduce, specifically, sitting fresh water and big puddles. Rodas is known as “the village of the Damují,” due to the presence of the river in the lives of the inhabitants. The river, which empties into the Bay of Cienfuegos, has the perfect conditions for anopheles mosquito reproduction; hence, the river sanitation campaigns.
Translated by Chavely Garcia