Health officials in the Bahamas are
confident that the recent malaria outbreak on Great Exuma in the
Out Islands is under control and that the Anopheles mosquito has
been contained and there have been no new infections or cases since
June 14, according to Dr. Baldwin Carey, director of public health
for the Bahamas.
Carey said that the
outbreak, first reported on June 6, was limited to a very defined
area of Georgetown, the capital. The 18 cases were contacted in
late May by a pool of people who come from areas where malaria is
officials have reported that local transmissions of malaria on
Exuma have been interrupted, and we are in the surveillance and
mop-up modes now, the director said.
The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its malaria outbreak alert for Great Exuma on June 16 and
advised Americans planning to visit Great Exuma in the next few
weeks to take prophylactic chloroquine as a preventative measure.
There were no advisories posted for any other Bahamas
Once an alert is
posted, the CDC does not lift it for at least six weeks, Carey
said. However, we have been assured by
the CDC, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health
Organization that the measures [that] the Ministry of Health is
undertaking are aggressive, proper, more than sufficient, and
appear to be successful.
environmental health team continues its mosquito control activities
on Great Exuma, which include fogging in the airport area, natural
ponds and other areas with large water collections.
We routinely spray
to reduce the mosquito population during the summer rainy season,
Carey said. Weve had more rain than normal this season and more
mosquitoes, but those mosquitoes are not related to the Anopheles
mosquito associated with malaria.
officials also are continuing a surveillance and prevention program
as well to determine the source of infection.
incident has had no effect on tourism to Great Exuma, according to
officials at the Ministry of Tourism. Carey reported that the Four
Seasons Great Exuma was running close to full when I was there at
the end of June.
The Bahamas, like
the U.S. is not considered an endemic area for malaria, but a small
number of cases are reported annually.
According to the
CDCs latest malaria surveillance report, there were 1,324 cases of
malaria in the U.S. in 2004, including cases in California,
Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New York and
information, visit www.cdc.gov/travel. For Bahamas updates, log on to www.bahamas.com.
contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].