Dominican Republic launches campaign to fight malaria

The Dominican Republic launched an education campaign on Tuesday to fight an increase in malaria deaths, which have risen from four deaths in all of 2010 to six deaths in 2011 already.

There have been 500 malaria cases reported this year in the Dominican Republic, with the majority of them occurring in the Caribbean country’s southern region, the Associated Press reports. The country is also dealing with an outbreak of cholera, which has led to seven deaths and the infection of close to 700 people.

Approximately 100,000 health workers and volunteers are visiting impoverished communities around the country’s capital of Santo Domingo this week to distribute pamphlets on how to treat malaria and other diseases that are common during the rainy season.

Malaria is a disease that is spread by infected mosquitoes. These mosquitoes can breed in stagnant water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization estimated that there were between 190 and 311 million clinical cases of malaria in 2008 with 708,000 to 1,003,000 deaths. Many of the deaths were children in Africa.

The symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including headache, shaking, chills, muscle aches and tiredness. Other symptoms that can occur include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, jaundice and anemia.

If malaria is not promptly treated, the infection may become severe and lead to seizures, mental confusion, kidney failure, coma and death.