Malaria Alert Issued as Korea Swelters in Summer Heat

  • By Kim Chul-joong

    August 18, 2023 13:03

    Malaria is on the rise in Korea as it swelters in record heat and humidity, topping 500 cases so far this year. That is more than double the number in the same period last year.
    The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency issued this year's first malaria alert on Thursday.
    Malaria is spread by mosquitoes infected with Plasmodium vivax and symptoms can appear as late as six months to a year after infection. They include fever, chills, vomiting and headache and can recur throughout a patient's lifetime. But the mortality rate is now relatively low if it is treated in good time.
    In Korea it is most commonly found in northern Gyeonggi Province, Incheon and some parts of Gangwon Province, particularly in areas close to North Korea. Paju and Gimpo in Gyeonggi Province bordering the North account for one-third of all malaria infections in the country.
    The best way to prevent it is to avoid mosquito bites. The KDCA advised people to refrain from outdoor activities at night, when mosquitoes are active, and to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and spray mosquito repellent on their arms and legs.
    If symptoms appear, those in malaria-risk areas or recently returned from abroad should get tested for malaria quickly, the KDCA added.
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