Malaria threat: Health officer reminds Sarikei folk to be extra cautious

SARIKEI: The people here are strongly advised to take all preventive measures in view of the malaria threat, which has been a regular inclusion in the division’s disease chart.

In giving this reminder, Sarikei Health officer Dr Emmanuel Joseph Fong said within the first quarter of this year, one death due to malaria had been recorded in this division.

However, he neither mentioned the specific locality of the case, nor the statistics relating to this Anopheles mosquito-borne disease – though he did describe malaria as being ‘hyper-endemic’ in this division.

Hyper-endemic refers to persistent, high-level occurrence of a disease and occasionally, the amount of disease in a community would rise above the expected level.

An endemic, on the other hand, refers to cases of a disease regularly occurring in a particular community or area and usually, are maintained constantly at a baseline level without any external input.

Adding on, Dr Fong said early symptoms of malaria would include fever, shivering, fatigue and headaches.

“In most death cases due to malaria, they stemmed from the ‘could-not-care-less’ attitude.

“Instead of seeking treatment at clinic, many of those who exhibited the symptoms thought that it was only an ordinary fever, and would only consume Paracetamol to treat themselves.

“Therefore, I strongly advise the people of Sarikei to take all preventive measures and those who exhibit symptoms of the disease must go to the nearest clinic immediately.

“Malaria could be fatal if not treated immediately,” he said.

Dr Fong also said many malaria cases in this division originated from Pakan and Julau; thus, he urged the people in these two districts, especially the longhouse folk, to be extra-cautious.

According to him, farmers and those frequently going to the jungle have the highest risk of being exposed to the disease.

He said with malaria parasite being known to transfer from monkeys to the Anopheles mosquito and consequently, transmitted to humans, farmers must take all the necessary preventive measures upon sighting monkeys near their farms.

--Source: Borneo Post

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