Peloponnese on alert for malaria cases due to illegal immigrants 2

Health services in the Peloponnese region are on “red alert” for the summer, due to the fear of the rise in malaria cases as a result of the increased presence of immigrants in the region, ProtoThema reported.

“Under these conditions, the risk of transmitting malaria is increasing sharply from an ill and untreated immigrant,” said the Peloponnese Regional Public Health Directorate, who are concerned about the situation in the Evrotas municipality in Laconia.

According to the suggestion of the Deputy Regional Health Minister Dimitris Schinochoritis and the scientific data collected by the Public Health Directorate, domestic transmission cases were almost zero.

“From 2015 until today, however, only imported cases continue to be recorded due to the influx of immigrants from endemic countries. In particular, in the Municipality of Evrota in 2018 four imported cases of malaria were recorded, while in 2019 two imported cases of malaria were recorded. In the Peloponnese Region and especially in the area of ​​the Municipality of Evrotas, there are factors in full force that act as a deterrent in the effort to protect the population from the danger of malaria,” he said.

According to the proposal, the municipality of Evrotas, as a rural area, has the largest fluctuations in the immigrant population from malaria-endemic countries.

Seasonal attraction of large numbers of migrants has been found, increasing the likelihood of parasite entry. The recorded number of immigrants in the Municipality of Evrotas in the period 2018-2019, amounted to 2,836 immigrants (95% of whom came from Pakistan). In addition, the local population (Greek and other nationality) is exposed to mosquitoes during their working hours (dusk to dawn). During the summer months, a variety of outdoor activities were observed in the early morning and afternoon hours, including sleep outdoors in an environment where the exposure to mosquito bites is high. Under these conditions, the risk of transmitting malaria from a sick and untreated immigrant increases sharply.

“Climate factors (temperature, rainfall and humidity) greatly affect the level of malaria transmission. The ambient temperature in the Peloponnese Region and especially in the Municipality of Evrotas, is ideal both for the reproduction of the transmitter and for the maintenance of the malaria plasmodium in it,” Schinochoritis explained.

It was deemed necessary to create an epidemiological surveillance structure of malaria in the municipality of Evrota based in Skala, Laconia. Among the targeted actions to address malaria in the area is information on how malaria is transmitted, the symptoms and treatment of malaria, as well as the active search for malaria cases by measuring the temperatures of the illegal migrants.

In addition, a precautionary treatment regimen will be given to migrants from malaria-endemic countries living and/or working in the municipality of Evrotas, while mosquito nets treated with insecticide will be placed in migrants’ homes/accommodation.