Covid19 and Malaria Have Similar Symptoms, Warns NICD, Encourages South Africans to Get Tested

Covid19 and Malaria Have Similar Symptoms, Warns NICD, Encourages South Africans to Get Tested

  • The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has warned South Africans in malaria hotspots to get tested
  • Malaria presents symptoms that are similar to Covid-19, which could cause underreporting of malaria cases
  • The institute has noted an increase in malaria cases following the easing of travel restrictions previously instituted in response to Covid-19

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CAPE TOWN - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) have issued a malaria warning as South Africa enters its peak season for the disease.

The NICD said that many people might not be aware that they have been infected with malaria, as it presents similar symptoms to Covid-19, such as fatigue, fever, headaches, chills and muscle pain. The malaria hotspots in South Africa are Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

Residents in these areas and people who have travelled there in the past six weeks have been encouraged to get tested for malaria, because if left untreated, the disease can be severe and even fatal, TimesLIVE reports.

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Covid-19, malaria, coronavirus, NICD, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, South Africa
The NICD has warned South Africans that malaria presents similar symptoms to Covid-19. Image: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The dangers of malaria

The NICD added that those who test positive for malaria must start their treatment for the disease as soon as possible to increase their chances of recovery and survival, according to EWN. Dr Jaishree Raman from the institute said malaria cases have increased with the lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

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“We have gone from reporting under 30 cases in the last few months to over 97 just last month and Mpumalanga going from under 100 cases to 250 already for January," Dr Raman said.

However, Dr Raman added that due to the overlap in Covid-19 and malaria symptoms, there might be more malaria cases than those on record, but they have not been diagnosed as people may believe they have the coronavirus.

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Reactions to NICD malaria warning

@AndrewButchart1 said:

"But probably isn’t if you haven’t been in a high risk malaria area."

@RowanJacklin remarked:

"Maybe it's just flu."


"I've had malaria before, I'm not shook, man."

@mfazomnyama_ said:

"Not me seeing this whilst feeling like I’m on my death bed."

SIU Covid19 expenditure report reveals PPE tender fraud in provincial government

Speaking of Covid-19, Briefly News recently reported that on 25 January, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) released a report on the government's spending during the Covid-19 pandemic. The report revealed that the majority of the expenditure was irregular and fraudulent.

The report led to the SIU launching an investigation into the Gauteng Health Department, after the unit found that the department overpaid by nearly 100% for PPE.

An example of the PPE fraud in Gauteng is that Mlangeni Brothers Events CC received R24 million in a contract with the province's health department to supply 100 000 boxes of gloves.

Source: Briefly News

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