Hadera man in ICU with malaria after avoiding prophylactic drugs in Africa

Although malaria has long been eradicated inIsrael and is easily preventible, a Hadera resident in his 20s whoreturned from half a year in Africa contracted it abroad and washospitalized in an intensive care unit in serious condition, accordingto Hillel Yaffe Medical Center.

Thereturning traveler complained of weakness, difficulty breathing and ahigh fever and was diagnosed at the Hadera hospital with malaria.Apparently, the Hillel Yaffe spokeswoman said, he did not take theprophylactic drugs that he bought for protection from the often fataldisease, which is spread by protozoan parasites carried by theAnopheles mosquito.

In the last two years, three people who contracted malariaabroad were hospitalized at Hillel Yaffe alone. Usually, the infectionoccurs because the traveler did not take the required medications.

Dr. Moni Litmanovich, head of the general intensive care unit,said his patient said he felt unwell even before flying home. Hedecided to be examined and get treatment in the hospital. He wasquickly diagnosed and admitted to the internal medicine department. Asa result of complications, his bodily systems began to fail.

"Don't think that if you're going for only a shorttime to areas where malaria is endemic, it won't happen to you," warnedLitmanovich. "Don't think that if you've been there for a long time andnot been infected, you are safe or that you have immunity to it."

Travelers also need to use anti-mosquito preparations and wearlight, long-sleeved and -legged clothing. It is best to sleep only inbeds with mosquito netting, he added. Around 2 million people die ofmalaria each year.

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