Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Dr. Fazıl Küçük Medicine Faculty academic staff member Asst. Prof. Dr. Mümtaz Güran released a 25 April World Malaria Day statement which reads as follows:
“Despite malaria being a disease more commonly seen in equatorial regions, Cyprus has its history with malaria. The planting of Eucalyptus trees on the island in the British period was a measure taken to dry swamps and prevent malaria. Malaria was seen on the island in a range of periods. A statement from the TRNC Ministry of Health indicated that there have been 31 cases of malaria in the last 5 years. According to TRNC Ministry of Health data the last malaria case with a TRNC citizen was in 2012. Despite most cases in the country being cases from abroad, malaria can appear anytime because of changing global conditions. Currently malaria cases in the country are seen after individuals go abroad to countries where malaria is common for reasons such as holiday, business, work or education, later returning with the disease. In addition foreign nationals that move to the TRNC or come to the island for work, education or business comprise a risk group. Individuals such as students, laborers, children, babies and pregnant women who are part of risk groups must be cautious when travelling to regions where malaria is common.
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by parasites. It is transmitted to humans by Anopheles mosquitos. Protection and treatment of malaria is possible. First indication of the disease appears approximately 7-30 days after being bitten. Initial symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, weakness, inappetency and joint pains are followed by vomiting, high temperatures up to 40 degrees, diarrhea and episodes of shaking.
According to World Health Organization data 216 million malaria cases were seen in 2016. 445000 of these 216 million cases resulted in death. Approximately 3 billion dollars are spent every year on the disease. Early diagnosis and affective treatment are very important. If there is a suspicion of malaria, individuals should visit a health center as quickly as possible. Recovery is often possible if correct treatment is applied. If the correct treatment is not applied malaria can lead to serious complications and death.
Protection from malaria requires the control of vectors which are the primary actors in its spreading. In addition, there is work on developing vaccination and there are vaccines that are currently used. It is of the utmost importance that individuals travelling to high-risk areas are informed about malaria and that they receive protective medicine and vaccines. Certain measures can also be taken to prevent mosquito bites such as using nets on windows, doors and beds, selecting clothes that will cover the body and using mosquito repellant. Drying wetlands such as swamps is also important in hot regions in terms of preventing mosquito formation.”