Two Nigerian visitors detained at QEH with malaria
More details are emerging on two visitors who health authorities in Barbados say were diagnosed with malaria – and not Ebola as rumoured.
Investigations by Barbados TODAY revealed that the two – who were staying at separate hotels – arrived here last week from Nigeria via the United States.
Well-placed sources said they were part of a larger group of visitors who came to the island on a seven-day trip to attend a local wedding.
This newspaper has also been reliably informed that the other members of the group, who were staying at a west coast hotel, have since booked out and gone to alternative accommodation on the south coast.
A source said the visitors were unable to travel, but did not elaborate.
Meantime, the two malaria patients were still being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) up to this evening. When contacted, President of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) Dr Carlos Chase expressed concern that neither malaria nor the malaria mosquito was not endemic to Barbados; therefore any such cases would have to be imported.
However, he said the island was capable of treating the disease, caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells.
Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, and vomiting, and usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. If not treated, malaria can quickly become life threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs.
Today, many Barbadians appeared to have been taken by surprise after Chief Medical Officer Dr Joy St John announced, through a Government Information Service (GIS) release last night, that the island was treating to two cases of malaria, which is mostly prevalent in Africa.
However, stressing that the persistent rumours of a suspected case of Ebola at the hospital were untrue, the Chief Medical Officer said the Ministry of Health could confirm that two visitors, who presented at the QEH with fever have tested positive for malaria.
The QEH has the capability for making such diagnoses, she noted in the statement. She added that neither persons had a travel history to the countries in West Africa where the Ebola outbreak was ongoing or had any contact with persons who have Ebola.
Dr St John also reminded members of the public that malaria was not endemic in Barbados.
When contacted tonight for further comment, Dr St John did not want to get into details about the identity of the victims.
However, she said Barbadians need not take any particular precautions since conditions here did not lend themselves to easy contraction of the disease.
Furthermore, she assured that the two patients, who were being treated at the QEH, were isolated from the general population.
She also reiterated that the existing cases were imported.
However, when pressed to comment on information received by Barbados TODAY that the patients had arrived from Nigeria via the US, the health official insisted that she would not be discussing nationalities on this matter.