Country winning a long fight to eliminate malaria

Sometimes major achievements are so low-keyed that they go unnoticed. Such is the case with Costa Rica’s fight against malaria.

In 2006, there were 2,903 cases reported. This year there have been three cases. Last year there were just eight.

The Ministerio de Salud said that the country is well on the way of eliminating the disease by 2015.

The areas where the mosquito-born disease has been most prevalent are around Matina, the northern zone and the Pacific coast.

The ministry in coordination with the Panamerican Health Organization generated support from local health agencies and municipalities. The fight against dengue and its mosquito vectors also helped.

The cases reported this year were in Santa Rosa de Pocosol, San Carlos;  Lepanto, Puntarenas, and Aguas Claras de Upala. Officials said they thought the third case was contracted in Africa by someone who then came to Costa Rica.

The health agency notes that in 1925 there were 32,750 cases of malaria in the country when the population was just 520,776. That is a rate of 125 per 1,000 inhabitants. Mortality was 10 percent.

Since 1957 there have been 93,033 cases, the health ministry said. The 2006 figures were boosted by an outbreak in Matina, said the agency.

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