Dominican Republic -- The threat of malaria now is "virtually
non-existent" in the Dominican Republic, and no new cases have been
reported since Dec. 5, according to the islands Dept. of Tourism.
Luis Simo, deputy
minister of tourism for international affairs, said the country did
experience "17 cases of malaria [but no deaths] from September
through November 2004 as a result of heavy flooding from hurricane
Jeanne in September."
Most of the malaria
cases were centered in the Punta Cana and Puerto Plata
Malaria is transported by
the bite of an infected mosquito and is found throughout the world,
mostly in tropical and sub-tropical regions. It kills between 1
million and 2.7 million people each year, according to the
Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Several U.S. and
Canadian tour operators as well as some hotels in the Dominican
Republic reported cancellations through January and said that there
was "a lot of confusion" regarding the lack of information from
In addition, cases
of the highly contagious Norwalk virus, or norovirus, were reported
during the same time period in the same areas of the
following hurricane Jeanne, the Pan-American Health Organization,
the Dept. of Tourism, the Dept. of Public Health and the
Association of Hotels and Restaurants implemented a special malaria
control policy. Measures included preventative fumigations, the
reinforcement of preventative health services and the assignment of
permanent medical staff to all resorts.
and the World Health Organization are monitoring the situation, and
the CDC continues to recommend that visitors take the antimalarial
drug chloroquine as a precaution.
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].