Wed, Oct 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CDC urges travelers to follow directions for malaria pills

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Two cases of malaria were confirmed last week in university students who had been on a social service program in Uganda last month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

The two women, students at a university in northern Taiwan, had gone on the service program with 10 other students and teachers between Sept. 10 and Sept. 23, Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said.

The pair experienced fever, shaking chills, nausea, vomiting and muscle pain, one on Thursday last week and the other two days later, and sought medical attention, he said.

They were diagnosed with malaria and their cases reported to the agency, he said.

The pair visited a travel clinic and been prescribed malaria prophylaxis before their trip, but one o took the drug for just two days and the other did not completly follow the instructions, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

Another team member also contracted malaria while in Uganda and was treated before returning home, while one more who has had headaches since returning home is being assisted by their local health department, Chuang said.

There have been five confirmed malaria cases in the nation this year, but all were contracted abroad, including in India, Kenya and the Solomon Islands.

Malaria is a vector-borne disease, carried by female Anopheles mosquitoes, and the incubation period can be from seven to 30 days, said Lin Yung-ching (林詠青), a CDC doctor.

The initial symptoms are similar to those of influenza, Lin said.

If malaria is not treated promptly, a patient can develop serious jaundice, or experience seizures, kidney failure, pulmonary edema, brain damage or become comatose, he added.

The CDC urges people planning to travel to areas where malaria is present to consult a travel clinic at least a month prior to their departure, he said.

If a malaria prophylaxis is prescribed, travelers should follow the instructions exactly, he said.

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